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King James 

Philip MauroT'-"" - 

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Authorized or Revised? 


Author of 

The World and Its God, The Number of Man, Life 

in the Word, Evolution at the Bar, etc. 

120 Tremont St. Boston 9, Mass. 





The importance of the question discussed in this 
volume. The Bible as a Factor of Civilization. 
The Bible in the English Tongue. 


The several English Versions. The occasion for 
the R. V. The widely recognized need for a Re- 
vision. The demand was not for a new Version, 
but for a revision of the A. V. The state of the 
original Text. The many Greek Texts of the 
N. T. Only one Hebrew Text of the 0. T. 


The Various Editions of the Greek Text. That of 
Stephens of 1850. The Elzevir or Texttis Be- 
ceptus, Griesbach's Text. Lachmann led in a new 
direction, followed by Tischendorf and Tregelles. 
Tisehendorf and the Mt. Sinai Ms. The principle 
of "Ancient Evidence Only." Alford's Text. 


Ancient Codices. The Vatican and the Sinaitic. 
How the latter was discovered, and how Textual 
Criticism was affected by it. 


Characteristics of the two oldest Mss. The many 
series of corrections to which the Codex Sinai- 
tieus has been subjected. What they prove. 
The work of an incompetent Scribe. The num- 
ber and nature of the differences between these 
two ancient Copies and the Received Text. The 
conclusions to be drawn. 




The principle of *' Ancient Evidence Only" ex- 
amined. Divine Safeguards to the Sacred Text. 
The Evidential Value of latex Mss. Errors of 
Omission. An illustrative test of the compara- 
tive values of the earlier and the later Mss. The 
strength of the case for the Eeeeived Text. 


The Procedure of the Revision Committee. The 
Instructions given them. How carried out. How 
the adoption of a New Greek Text (virtually that 
of Westcott and Hort) was secured. 


Specific Examples of Textual Corruption. The 
last 12 Verses of Mark. The Angelic Message. 
The Lord 's Agony, and His Prayer on the Cross. 
**The Mystery of Godliness." Other important 
passages affected. 


Changes in- Translation. The leaning towards 
greater literality not an improvement. Thou- 
sands of uncalled-for changes — ^mostly for the 
worse. Concerning 2 Timothy 3:16. The Ver- 
sion of 1911. Its value as a witness. 


The strange uses made of the Margin in the 
R. V. The Name "Jesus." *' Thine is the King- 
dom." "The Son of God." "Which is in 
Heaven." "The Number of a Man." The 
Island of Melita. 


The Theory of Drs. Westcott and Hort. Many 
Assumptions, but no proof. The Received Text 
traced back to the 2d Century by means of Ver- 
sions and Quotations. No proof at all of any 
earlier Text. Bishop EUicott in Defence of the 
R. V. A comparison as to style between the 
A. V. and R. V. The Voice of the People. Con- 



THE purpose of this book is to set forth 
information concerning the Authorized 
and Eevised Versions of the New Testa- 
ment, information which should be shared by 
all Bible readers, but is in the possession of 
only a few in our day. 

Our present inquiry is in regard to the many 
differences, some of them quite serious, between 
the "Authorized" or King James Version, first 
published in 1611,' and the ''Eevised" Version 
of 1881. The total number of the departures 
of the latter from the former is over thirty-six 

This raises some serious questions. 

Why was such an enormous number of 
changes made? On what authority? What is 
their general character and effect? Briefly, do 
they give us a better Version, that is, one that 
brings us nearer to the original autographs of 
the inspired Writings ? And is the Authorized 
Version so very defective as implied by such 
an enormous number of corrections ? 

Not only is this a matter of the highest con- 
sequence, but it is one as touching which the 
ordinary Bible reader would wish to have a well 
grounded opinion of his own. As a basis for 



such an opinion lie must have knowledge of the 
pertinent facts; for the experts, the textual 
critics, editors, and Greek scholars, differ and 
dispute among themselves; and their discus- 
sions and dissertations abound in matters so 
technical and abstruse that ordinary persons 
cannot follow them. Therefore the conflicting 
opinions of the experts serve only to becloud 
the subject for the common people. 

The pertinent facts themselves are not diffi- 
cult to understand ; but they are inaccessible to 
most Bible readers. Therefore we are writing 
these pages with the object mainly of setting 
forth such facts concerning the two rival 
Versions, the sources whence they were respec- 
tively derived, and the circumstances attending 
the coming into existence of the Bevised Ver- 
sion, as have served as a basis for the writer's 
own judgment. Those facts are not only su- 
premely important, but are also absorbingly 
interesting. So it is not to a dry or a tedious 
discussion that we invite the reader of this 
book, but to one of lively interest. 

As to which is the better of the two Versions 
of the English Bible there is of course a differ- 
ence of opinion. Those who favor the modern 
Version will point to the fact that, during the 
three hundred years that have elapsed since the 
A. V. was translated, much material has been 
discovered whereby additional light is thrown 
upon the Text. They also refer to the advance- 



ment in all departments of learning ; and to the 
fact tliat the R. V. was the result of the labors 
of eminent scholars, who spent ten years upon 
its production. All this is true ; and other gen- 
eral facts of like import could be mentioned, all 
of which served to prepare the minds of 
English-speaking people everywhere to give a 
most favorable reception to the new Version. 
How comes it then that the King James Version 
has not only maintained its place of supremacy, 
but of late years has forged further and further 
ahead of its rival? This surely is a matter 
worthy of our thoughtful consideration. 

But before we begin to inquire into it, we wish 
briefly to direct the reader's attention to facts 
of great importance touching the Holy Scrip- 
tures in general, and the English Bible in par- 

The Bible as a Factor of Civelization- 

Everything pertaining to the Bible, and par- 
ticularly every change proposed in the Bible as 
we have had it in the English tongue, is a matter 
of high consequence to all men — ^whether they 
realize it or not. For it is beyond all question 
that the Bible has been the chief factor in the 
formation of our Western Civilization, and also 
the chief factor in conserving it. Its unique 
influence upon the lives of individuals, and the 
standards of justice and morality which it has 
held up before the people, are what have served 



to withstand the mighty disruptive forces of 
lawlessness and anarchy by which the very 
existence of society has been always menaced — 
and more so just now than ever before. 

The influence of the Bible has contributed, 
and still contributes, far beyond all other forces 
combined, to the maintenance of government, 
and of all the principles of law, customs, usages, 
standards of ethics, education, and family life, 
that make for the welfare of nations, communi- 
ties, and individuals. 

This we can assert without fear of contradic- 
tion. For even so great an enemy of Christian- 
ity as Mr. H. Gr. Wells acknowledges that civil- 
ization owes both its origin and its preservation 
to the Bible. He has recently declared in print 
that "the civilization we possess could not have 
come into existence, and could not have been 
sustained, without it." Again he admits that 
*4t is the Book that has held together the fabric 
of Western civilization;" that it has ''unified 
and kept together great masses of people ; " that 
it has been ''the hand book of life to countless 
millions of men and women, it has explained the 
world to the mass of our people, and has given 
them moral standards and a form into which 
their consciences could work." 

Here is testimony which is all the more valu- 
able because it comes from one of the most 
prominent of the enemies of that faith which 
rests for its support upon the Bible; and we 



wonder how any man, wlio is capable of grasp- 
ing the facts thus admitted hy Mr. Wells, can 
fail to see that a Book which has, through cen- 
turies of time, accomplished results so great in 
magnitude and so excellent in character, must 
needs be of super-human origin. The facts, 
which Mr. Wells and other infidels are con- 
strained to admit, concerning the influence of 
the Bible, and concerning the extent, duration, 
and above all the character of that influence 
among the peoples of the world, cannot he pred- 
icated, even in a small measure, of any other 
book. So here we have, in the outstanding facts 
which even the enemies of Christ are con- 
strained to acknowledge, proof enough of the 
Divine authorship of the Holy Scriptures. 

The Bible in English 

But what we wish specially to emphasize for 
our present purpose is that, when reference is 
made to the Bible and its influence, what is 
meant in most cases is the English Version 
thereof. For the undeniable fact is that the 
English Version of the Scriptures is the 
*' Bible" to most of those who read or consult 
the Holy Scriptures ; and the English Version 
has been, moreover, the basis for the transla- 
tion of ttie Scriptures into many other lan- 
guages and dialects. 

From these facts, which are matters of com- 
mon knowledge, it follows that whatever affects 



the English Version of the Bible is of highest 
consequence to all the people of the world, even 
if we limit ourselves to the consideration merely 
of their temporal concerns. Therefore it be- 
hooves all of us who have at heart the purposes 
for which God has given us His holy Word, to 
acquaint ourselves, so far as we can, with the 
merits of the several English Versions, in order 
that we may have an intelligently formed and 
well grounded opinion upon the question which 
of these Versions, as a whole, is best calculated 
to accomplish the purposes of God, and to se- 
cure the welfare of human beings, both for time 
and for eternity. 

For the thought of writing this book, and for 
some of the materials composing it, I am 
indebted to a pamphlet on ''The Revised Ver- 
sion," by L. E. B., published by Elliot Stock, 


Chapteb I 

The Several Versions 

THE common Version of the Holy Bible in 
the English tongue is more than three hun- 
dred years old; for it first appeared in 
1611. It is sometimes called the ''King James 
Version," but more commonly the ' 'Authorized 
Version." It is usually designated by the let- 
ters A. V. 

In the year 1881 a new Version of the Bible in 
English appeared; and a second and final edi- 
tion thereof was issued in 1885. This Version 
was the result of the labors of a Revision 
Committee, composed of English and American 
scholars, well acquainted with the original lan- 
guages. The labors of the Eevision Committee 
extended over a period of ten years. This Ver- 
sion is usually designated by the letters B. V. 

Twenty years later (1901) another Version, 
embodying the readings preferred by the Amer- 
ican members of the Revision Committee, was 
published in the United States. It is known as 
the "American Standard Version," and is des- 
ignated by the letters A. S. V. 

There are many differences between these two 
new Versions, both of which resulted from the 



labors of the Eevision Committee.* For exam- 
ple, in the American Version the Name LORD 
is changed throughout the Old Testament to 
JEHOVAH, which is the recognized English 
equivalent of the Hebrew original. This change 
we regard as a great improvement. But we 
shall not discuss herein the differences between 
the two modern Versions. 

It should also be stated at the outset that our 
observations will be confined to the New Testa- 
ment. The reason is that the differences of 
major importance which appear in the Revised 
Versions of the New Testament, and their im- 
portance is in some cases very great indeed, are 
not differences of translation, but are differ- 
ences in the Greek text used as the basis of the 
translation, the text adopted by the Revisers of 
the 19th Century being different in many par- 
ticulars from that which, three centuries pre- 
vious, served as the basis of the A. V. In the 
case, however, of the Old Testament, the same 
Hebrew text served as the basis of both Ver- 
sions. Therefore the changes made by the 
Revisers in the Old Testament are changes of 
translation only; and it is quite easy for any- 
one, with the help of a Hebrew Concordance, to 
form an opinion between the several transla- 
tions of a passage. When, however, the original 

* See "Preface to the Edition of 1885," and "Preface to the Amer- 
ican Edition" ; also the Appendix to the former, in which the readings 
preferred by the American members of the Committee were given. 



text has been changed, he has no means of judg- 
ing whether or not the change was warranted. 

The Occasion for the R. V. 

The Bible is the one Book in the world which 
is constantly under scrutiny; and the scrutiny 
to which it is subject is of the most searching 
kind, and from the keenest and best equipped 
minds in the world — and this, by the way, is 
another strong, though indirect, proof that the 
Bible is not a human book. This continuous and 
microscopical examination of the Bible, and of 
all the circumstances and conditions connected 
with the origin of its various parts, has been 
carried on both by its friends, who value all the 
information they can gather concerning it, and 
also by its enemies, wh6 are unremitting in their 
search for facts which might be used to discredit 
its statements or impugn its accuracy. 

This unceasing scrutiny extends not only to 
every word of the original text, but to the more 
minute questions of prefix, termination, spell- 
ing, tense of verbs, and even to the very smallest 
matters, such as the placing of an accent. It 
would seem as if every generation of men was 
impelled, as by some strong but inscrutable 
influence, thus to recognize the importance of 
every "jot and tittle" of this Book of books. 

As the result of this constant and painstaking 
study of the Scriptures during centuries follow- 
ing the appearance of the A. V., it became 



increasingly evident that, notwithstanding the 
excellencies of that great and admirable work, 
there were particulars wherein, for one cause 
or another, it admitted of (and indeed called 
for) correction. For those who translated it, 
though godly and scholarly, and though as- 
sisted, as we doubt not they were in large mea- 
sure, by the Holy Spirit, were but human, and 
therefore compassed with infirmity. Moreover, 
in the course of the years following the comple- 
tion of their labors, discoveries were made 
which affected the original text of the New 
Testament, and other discoveries which threw 
fresh light upon the meaning of obscure words 
and difficult passages. It was found also that 
corrections in translation were demanded here 
and there, particularly in regard to the tenses 
of verbs. 

And beside all that, we have to take into con- 
sideration the fact (for which the translators of 
the A. V. were in no wise responsible) that 
changes had meanwhile occurred in the mean- 
ings of not a few English words and expres- 

For all these reasons it appeared desirable 
that our excellent and justly admired Author- 
ized Version should have such a revision as that 
for which the Revision Committee was ap- 
pointed in the year 1871. For it should be 
understood that what was contemplated by 
those who were responsible for the appointment 



of that Committee was simply a revision of the 
Version of 1611; and had the Committee con- 
fined themselves to the task actually entrusted 
to them, and kept within the limits of the in- 
structions given to them, the results of their 
long labors would no doubt have been a gain and 
a blessing to all the English-speaking nations, 
and through them to all mankind. But instead 
of a Revised Version of the long accepted 
English Bible, the Committee brought forth (so 
far at least as the New Testament was con- 
cerned) a New Version. This fact was not dis- 
closed by them. The *' Preface to the Edition 
of A. D. 1885*' gives no indication of it; but 
through the vigilance of certain godly and 
scholarly men (Dean Burgon in particular) the 
important fact was discerned and brought to 
light that the Committee had produced, not a 
"Revised" Version (though that was the name 
given to it) but a New Version, which was a 
translation of a **New Greek Text." The im- 
portance of this fact will be made evident as we 
proceed. It will also be a matter of much inter- 
est to show the sources from which this *'New 
Greek Text" was derived, and the means 
whereby its adoption by the Committee (as to 
which there was considerable mystery at the 
time) was brought about. 



The Present Situation- 

It is now more tlian forty years — the Scrip- 
tural period of full probation— since the R. V. 
appeared; and as we contemplate the existing 
situation (in the year 1924) the most conspicu- 
ous fact that presents itself to our view is that 
the New Version (in either or both its forms) 
has not superseded the A. V., and that there is 
not the faintest indication that it will ever do 
so. Indeed it appears that the R. V. is declin- 
ing, rather than gaining, in favor, and that with 
Bible users of all classes, from the most schol- 
arly to the most unlearned.* This is a fact of 
much significance, and due consideration should 
be given to it in any attempt one might make 
to arrive at a just estimate of the relative 
values of the rival Versions. What is the ex- 
planation of this fact? It is not that the Old 
Version did not and does not admit of correc- 
tions and improvements. Nor is it that the 
Revisers did not make them; for it cannot be 
denied that the R. V. contains many improved 
readings. Yet for all that, as the experience of 
a whole generation has now conclusively demon- 
strated, the A. V. retains, and in all probability 
will contintie to retain, its long undisputed place 
as the standard English Bible. 

This failure of the new Versions, or either of 
them, to displace the old, is attributed by some 

* See the Reports of Bible Societies on p. 117 of this volume. 


to the supposed conservatism of people in gen- 
eral, and to their assumed reluctance to accept 
changes of any sort. But we should say the 
truth in this regard is rather that people in our 
time are unduly ready, and even eager, to wel- 
come every kind of a change. Eadical innova- 
tions are the order of the day. On every hand 
we see the * ' old " being discarded for the * 'new" 
and the ** up-to-date;" and in no department of 
human affairs is this eagerness for change more 
manifest than in the field of literature (if that 
word may be properly applied to what people 
read now-a-days). 

Moreover, the generation of those who had 
known only the A. V., and who therefore might 
have been disposed to cling to it for that reason 
alone, is now passed away; and the fact which 
confronts us is that whereas those living at that 
time (1881-1885) seemed quite ready and wil- 
ling to welcome the E. V., fully expecting it to 
be a real improvement upon the older Version, 
the almost unanimous judgment of the next suc- 
ceeding generation is that the older Version is 
to be preferred. 

But, looking beyond and above the sphere of 
mere human judgment, and recognizing the 
superintendence of the Spirit of God in all that 
has to do with the Word of God, we feel war- 
ranted in concluding from the facts stated above 
that there are Divine reasons for the retention 
of the A. V. in the favor of the people of God. 



We will try, therefore, to point out some of 
those reasons. 

The Original Text 

Very few of those who read the Scriptures 
have any idea how much depends upon the all- 
important matter of settling the Greek Text of 
the New Testament, or how many and how great 
the diflaculties involved therein. Of those who 
give any thought at all to the matter the larger 
number seem to suppose that there exists some- 
where an acknowledged original Text of the New 
Testament, and that the work of preparing an 
English Version is merely a matter of the cor- 
rect translation of that Greek Text. But the 
case is far otherwise; for the first part of the 
work is to settle the Greek Text from which the 
translation is to be made ; and this is a matter 
of immense difficulty, for the reason that the 
original materials from which the Text must be 
constructed embrace upwards of a thousand 
manuscripts. Some of these contain the whole, 
or nearly the whole, of the New Testament ; and 
the rest contain a part, some more, some less, 
thereof. Of these manuscripts a few are sup- 
posedly as early as the fourth or fifth century, 
and others as late as the fourteenth. 

Then there are also certain ancient Versions, 
or Translations, as the Latin, Syriac and Coptic, 
whose testimony as to disputed passages must 
be considered, particularly for the reason that 



some of them are older than the earliest Greek 
manuscripts known to exist at the present time. 
The most noted of these is the Peschito, or 
Syriac Version, which dates from very early in 
the Christian era, probably from the second 

The original materials for the making of a 
Greek Text embrace also numerous quotations 
of Scripture found in the copious writings of 
the "church fathers," which have survived to 
our day. This is an important source of infor- 
mation; for those quotations are so numerous, 
and they cover so much ground in the aggre- 
gate, that the greater part of the Text of the 
entire New Testament could be constituted from 
them alone. 

But no two of these thousands of manuscripts 
are exactly alike ; and every discrepancy raises 
a distinct question requiring separate investi- 
gation and a separate decision. While, how- 
ever, the precise reading of thousands of pas- 
sages is affected by these differences, it must 
not be supposed that there is any uncertainty 
whatever as to the teaching and testimony of the 
New Testament in its entirety. For the consol- 
ing facts in that regard are: (1) that the vast 
majority of the variant readings are so slight 
(a mere question of a single letter, or an accent, 
or a prefix, or a case ending) as not to raise any 
question at all concerning the true sense of the 
passage ; and (2) that the sum of all the variant 



readings taken together does not give ground 
for the slightest doubt as to any of the funda- 
mental points of faith and doctrine. In other 
words, the very worst Text that could be con- 
structed from the abundant materials available 
would not disturb any of the great truths of the 
Christian faith. 

It will be seen, therefore, that the making of 
a Greek Text, as the first step in producing an 
English Version, involves the immense labor of 
examining, for every disputed word and pas- 
sage, the numerous manuscripts, ancient Ver- 
sions, and quotations now known to exist, and 
also the making of a decision in each case where 
there is a conflict between the various witnesses. 
This is a highly complicated task; and for the 
proper performance of it other qualities besides 
Greek and English scholarship are required. 
For example, one must settle at the outset what 
degree of credibility is to be imputed to the 
respective manuscripts; and this is where, in 
our opinion, the compilers of the Greek Text 
used as the basis for the E. V. went far astray, 
with the result that the Text adopted by them 
was much inferior to that used in the transla- 
tion of the A. V. Our reasons for this opinion, 
which will be given later on, are such as to be 
easily understood. 

In this connection it is important to observe 
that no amount of care in the work of transla- 
tion will tend to cure defects in the original 



Text; but that, on the contrary, the more faith- 
ful the translation the more effectually will the 
errors of the Text be carried into the resulting 

The EEvisioisr Committee Not Instructed to 
Fashion?- a New Geeek Text 

Moreover, it is to be noted in this connection 
that the instructions under which the Revisers 
acted did not contemplate the making of a New 
Greek Text ; nor did they have the qualifications 
needed for such a complicated task. The reader 
will be astonished, we venture to predict, when 
he comes to learn (as we propose to show later 
on) the mode of procedure whereby, in this case, 
that ''New Greek Text" was fashioned. But 
at this point we merely direct attention to the 
fact that the Committee was instructed to under- 
take "A Revision of the Authorised Version," 
with a view to ''the removal of plain and clear 
errors," and that the first rule was "To intro- 
duce as few alterations as possible into the text 
of the Authorized." 

This prompts us to ask, if 36,000 alterations 
were the fewest possible for the Revisers to 
introduce, what would they have done had a 
perfectly free hand been given them? 

As Regards the Work op Translation 
Furthermore, we believe it can be clearly 
shown that the work of translation in the case 



of the R. V. is as a whole much inferior to that 
of the A. V. (notwithstanding the many im- 
proved readings given in the R. V.) insomuch 
that, as one competent authority has said, the 
later version is characterized by "bad English 

The Hebrew Text of the Old Testament 

As already stated, the diJ0S.culties attending 
the Greek text of the New Testament do not 
exist in connection with the Old Testament, the 
original of which is in the Hebrew tongue. For 
there is but a single Standard Hebrew text, the 
''Massoretic Text," which is recognized by both 
Jewish and Christian authorities as the true 
Text of the Hebrew Scriptures. 


Chapteb II 

The Various Greek Texts 

WE HAVE spoken briefly of the diffi- 
culties that must be met by those who 
undertake to compile, from the scat- 
tered and diverse original ''sources/' a Greek 
Text of the New Testament. That great task 
has, nevertheless, been undertaken by able 
scholars at different times, and, as the outcome 
of their labors, there are in existence at the 
present time several complete texts. We will 
now give a brief account of the most important 
of them. 

Stephens (A. D. 1550) 

The Text of Stephens is that which served as 
the basis of the A. V. In its production the 
compiler was guided in large measure, though 
not exclusively, by the comparatively recent 
manuscripts (ninth, tenth, and eleventh cen- 
turies) which had been in use in various 
churches of Europe, Asia and Africa. 

It might be supposed that Stephens was at a 
disadvantage with respect to later compilers in 
that he did not have the benefit of the manu- 
scripts, particularly the Vatican and Sinaitic, 
which were available to later editors, as Tisch- 



endorf, Tregelles and Westcott and Hort. But 
the fact is, and this we hope to make quite plain, 
that the comparative excellence of the Text of 
Stephens (and the Elzevir or Textus Receptus 
— see next sub-heading below) is due in no small 
degree to the fact that in its composition the 
Vatican and Sinaitic Mss. were not consulted. 
The comparatively late Mss., from which the 
Stephens and Elzevir texts were mainly com- 
piled, were, of course, copies of older ones, 
which were in time used up, and which them- 
selves were copies of others still more ancient. 
In all this copying and re-copying, there would 
inevitably have crept in the various errors to 
which copyists are liable. Moreover, in some 
cases there were alterations purposely made, 
from one motive or another. When an error 
crept into a copy, or was purposely introduced, 
it would naturally be perpetuated in copies 
made from that one ; and thus variations from 
the original would tend to multiplication. There 
was, however, a check upon this tendency. For 
such was the reverence paid to the sacred Text, 
and such the desire that copies used in the 
churches should be pure, that every opportunity 
would be embraced for comparing one Text 
with another; and where differences were ob- 
served there would be naturally an investiga- 
tion for the purpose of establishing the true 
reading. Thus, by examination and comparison 
of a moderate number — say ten or twenty— com- 



paratively late manuscripts from widely sep- 
arated points, it would be possible to establish, 
almost to a certainty, the original reading of 
any disputed passage, or, if it were a passage 
whose authenticity as a whole was questioned, 
to decide whether it were genuine Scripture 
or not. 

Elzevie oe **Texttjs Eboepttjs" (1624) 

This edition, with which the name and fame 
of the great Erasmus are associated, has been 
for centuries, and still is, the best known and 
most widely used of all the Greek Texts. While 
this justly famous edition is later by some years 
than the publication of the A. V., the differences 
between it and its immediate predecessor,- the 
Stephens edition, are so few and unimportant 
that the two may be regarded for all practical 
purposes as one and the same. Thus all the 
scholarship back of the Textus Receptus is an 
endorsement of the Text which served as the 
basis for the translation of our A. V. 

It is apparent from what has been said al- 
ready that if the Revisers of the 19th century 
had used the same Greek Text, either as it 
stood, or with such corrections as might seem 
justified by discoveries made subsequently to 
1624, they would have given us a Version hav- 
ing a comparatively small number of changed 
readings. In fact it is within bounds to say 



that, if the Revisers had given us simply a cor- 
rected translation of the Textus Receptus, 
instead of a translation of an entirely **New 
Greek Text," we should not have more than a 
small fraction, say less than ten percent, of the 
changes found in the E. V. And what is more, 
not one of those changes which are regarded as 
serious, and against which such a storm of pro- 
test has been raised (and that from men of the 
highest scholarship and deepest piety) would 
have been made. In that case it is likely also 
that the changes would have commended them- 
selves to the majority of discriminating Bible 

Therefore we should take careful note of the 
principles that were adopted, and of the mate- 
rials that were used in the compilation of later 
Greek Texts of the New Testament. Of the 
most important of these we shall proceed now to 
speak briefly. 

Geiesbaoh's Edition (1805) 

This Text appeared about 150 years after the 
Elzevir edition. In the meantime an enormous 
amount of new materials had been gathered and 
was available for whatever help it might afford 
in the effort to arrive at the true original read- 
ing. But the added mass of evidence made the 
task of examination the more laborious; and 
moreover, it raised again and again the difficult 



question of the relative credibility of conflicting 

Griesbach, in the compilation of his text, pro- 
ceeded upon a plan and principles of his own, 
which need not be here described. In cases of 
doubt and difficulty he seemed to follow the 
Textus Receptus. Hence his departures were 
not serious; and in any case his Text is not re- 
garded today as having any special authority. 

Lachmann (1842-1850) 

This editor appears to have been the first to 
act upon the theory or principle that the more 
ancient the manuscript the more worthy of cre- 
dence. The extent to which this idea has been 
allowed to control in the settling of disputed 
readings, without regard to other weighty con- 
siderations whereby the credibility of the con- 
tradictory witnesses should properly have been 
determined, is very extraordinary. This mat- 
ter calls for special attention, not only because 
of the important part it played in settling the 
Text of the E. V., but because it seems to be 
quite generally taken for granted that the older 
the manuscript the more worthy to be believed 
where there is a conflict of testimony. We pro- 
pose, therefore, to examine this rule of evidence 
with some care later on ; and in that connection 
we will endeavor to show why we believe that 
the principles which controlled in the compila- 
tion of the Textus Receptus are far more con- 



formable to the sound rules of evidence, and 
hence more likely to lead to right conclusions, 
than that adopted by Lachmann and his suc- 

Lachmann seems to have conceived a preju- 
dicial dislike for the Received Text, and (as a 
good authority expresses it) to have **set to 
work to form a text independent of that, right 
or wrong. He started with the theory of ancient 
evidence only, thus sweeping away many copies 
and much evidence, because they dated below 
his fixed period." In fact he did not seek to 
arrive at the original inspired Writings, but 
merely ''to recover the Text as it was in the 
fourth century." 

This principle, first adopted by Lachmann, 
and followed with well-nigh calamitous results 
by his successors, including Drs. Westcott and 
Hort (who were responsible for the Text which 
underlies the R. V.) is based upon the tacit 
assumption that there existed in the fourth cen- 
tury a Greek Text which was generally accepted, 
and which was also virtually pure. But it is 
now recognized that the very worst corruptions 
of the original Writings are those which oc- 
curred prior thereto. 

And not only so, but, at the time of the ap- 
pearance of the R. V. Drs. Westcott and Hort 
put forth an elaborate explanation of the prin- 
ciples adopted by them in the making of their 
''New Greek Text" (which up to that time had 



been privately circulated among the Revision- 
ists, and under injunctions of strictest secrecy) 
and in it they admitted that the Textus Receptus 
is substantially identical with the Text used in 
the Churches of Syria and elsewhere in and 
prior to the fourth century. To this important 
feature of the case we will refer more in detail 
later on; for it proves that the authors of the 
Text adopted by the Revisers, while appealing 
to the principle of ** ancient evidence" as the 
reason for their departures from the Received 
Text, have made admissions which show that 
they in fact acted directly contrary to that prin- 

Now, as to the assumption that because a 
given Text or Ms. dated from the fourth ceiltury 
it would be purer than one of later date, we 
quote the following statement of one who was 
generally regarded as the ablest textual critic 
of those days. Dr. Frederick H. A. Scrivener, 
who, in his ^'Introduction to the Text of the 
N. T." (3d ed. p. 511) says : ** It is no less true 
to fact than paradoxical in sound that the worst 
corruptions to which the New Testament has 
ever been subjected originated within a hundred 
years after it was composed; that IrenaBus and 
the African Fathers, and the whole Western 
church, with a portion of the Syrian, had far 
inferior manuscripts to those employed by 
Stunica, or Erasmus, or Stephens, thirteen cen- 



turies later, when moulding the Textus Re- 

But Lachmann proceeded in disregard of this 
fact, and no doubt because ignorant of it. He 
thus set a bad example; and unfortunately his 
example has been followed by editors who came 
after him, men of great learning unquestion- 
ably, and having accurate knowledge of early 
Greek, but apparently knowing little of the his- 
tory of the various Greek manuscripts, and 
nothing at all of the laws of evidence, and how 
to deal with problems involving the investiga- 
tion of a mass of conflicting testimony. 

TiscHENDOBP (1865-1872) 

This scholar, whose great abilities and unre- 
mitting labors are widely recognized, has had a 
dominating influence in the formation of the 
modern Text. Tischendorf proceeded upon a 
plan which we give in his own words: **The 
text is to be sought only from ancient evidence, 
and especially from Greek Mss., but without 
neglecting the testimonies of Versions and 
Fathers." From this we see that Tischendorf 
thoroughly committed himself to the principle 
of giving the "ancient evidence'* the deciding 
voice in all disputed readings. That he should 
have adopted this principle was specially un- 
fortunate because of the circumstance that 
Tischendorf himself was the discoverer of the 
famous Codex Sinaiticus (of which we shall have 



occasion to speak more particularly later on) 
which manuscript is reputed the most ancient 
but one of all the now existing Greek manu- 
scripts of the N. T., and which therefore, upon 
the principle referred to, is entitled to the high- 
est degree of credibility. But whether or not 
the Sinaitic Ms. is the most ancient of all now 
known to exist, it is, beyond any doubt what- 
ever, the most defective, corrupt, and untrust- 
worthy. Our reasons for this assertion (rea- 
sons which are ample to establish it) will be 
given later on. We wish at this point merely to 
note the fact (leaving the proof thereof for a 
subsequent chapter) that the most serious of 
the many departures of the E. V. from the A. V. 
are due to the unhappy conjunction of an un- 
sound principle of evidence and the fortuitous 
discovery, by a scholar who had accepted that 
principle, of a very ancient Greek Ms. of the 
N. T., a Ms. which, despite its unquestioned 
antiquity, turns out to be about the worst and 
most ** scandalously corrupt" of all the Greek 
Texts now known to exist. 


This editor was contemporary with Tischen- 
dorf. As stated in his own words his purpose 
was **to give the text on the authority of the 
oldest Mss. and Versions, and with the aid of 
the earlier citations, so as to present, so far as 



possible, the text commonly received in the 
fourth century." 

This, it will be observed, is substantially the 
plan proposed by Lachmann ; and these are the 
precedents which seem to have mainly influenced 
Westcott and Hort in the compilation of their 
Text, which is virtually the Text from which the 
E. V. was made. 

Dr. Scrivener says (Introduction p. 342) : 
'* Lachmann 's text seldom rests on more than 
four Greek Codices, very often on three, not 
infrequently on two, sometimes on only one." 
His fallacy, which was adopted by Tregelles, 
necessarily proved fatal to the text prepared by 
the latter, who in fact acted upon the astound- 
ing assumption that "eighty-nine ninetieths" of 
our existing manuscripts and other authorities 
might safely be rejected, in order that we might 
be free to follow a few early documents of bad 

This tendency in a wrong direction found a 
still further development in Tischendorf, and 
came to full fruition in Westcott and Hort, who 
were allowed to fashion according to their own 
ideas the Greek Text of the R. V. 


The work of this editor (who is rated high as 
a Greek scholar, though we know not how com- 
petent he was to decide questions of fact where 
there was conflict of testimony) was subsequent 



to that of the two preceding editors. Concern- 
ing their work he says that "If Tischendorf has 
run into a fault on the side of speculative 
hypotheses concerning the origins of readings 
found in those Mss., it must be confessed that 
Tregelles has sometimes erred on the (certainly 
far safer) side of scrupulous adherence to the 
more literal evidence of the ancient Mss." Al- 
ford's text was Constructed — ^to state it in his 
own words — **by following in all ordinary 
cases the united or preponderating testimony, 
of the most ancient authorities." Later evi- 
dence was taken into consideration by him only 
when "the most ancient authorities did not 
agree or preponderate. ' ' 

It seems not to have occurred to this learned 
man, any more than to the others, that mere 
antiquity was not a safe test of reliability where 
witnesses were in conflict, and that a late copy 
of a correct origmal should be preferred to a 
corrupt Ms. of earlier date. 


Chapteb III 

The Ancient Codices. The Vatican 
Codex and the Sinaitic 

THIS brings us to the consideration of those 
"ancient manuscripts" or ** codices,"* as 
they are usually called, to which the 
modern editors have attributed so high a degree 
of credibility, and by which their decisions in 
the construction of a Grreek Text for the E. V. 
have been so largely influenced; and especially 
to the consideration of the two most venerable 
of all the existing witnesses to the sacred text, 
namely, the Codex Vaticanus, so called because 
its repository is the papal palace (the Vatican) 
at Rome, and the Codex Sinaiticus, so called be- 
cause it was discovered by Tischendorf in a 
monastery on Mt. Sinai in Arabia. These Mss. 
are supposed, from the character of the writing, 
and from other internal evidences, to date from 
the fourth century. The next oldest are sup- 
posed to date from the fifth century. Hence, 
upon the generally accepted theory to which we 

* Codex is a name given to any ancient manuscript book. There are 
about 114 known "codices" of the Bible, that is manuscripts on 
parchment in uncial characters (all capital letters run together) dating 
from the 4th to the 10th century; and about twelve hundred manu- 
scripts known as cursives (i. e., written in a running hand) between 
the 9th and 16th centuries, containing the Gospels, besides about fiv« 
hundred manuscripts containing the rest of the N. T. 



have referred above, the testimony of the two 
codices just named is to be accepted as decisive 
in the case of disputed readings. Therefore, the 
Eevisers of 1881 committed themselves to the 
leading of these two ''ancient witnesses." Did 
they lead towards or away from the true text 
of the inspired Writings! That is the deeply 
important matter into which we propose now to 

In addition to the Codex Vaticanus and the 
Codex Sinaiticus, there are three other very 
ancient Mss. These are : 

1. Codex Alexandrinus. This Ms. has been 
kept for a long time in the British Museum in 
London. It contains all the Gospels (except 
small parts of Matthew and Johil) and all the 
rest of the N. T. except 2 Cor. 4:13-12:6 (fifth 

2. Codex EpJiraemi, kept in Paris, contain- 
ing only portions of the Gospels, the Acts, 
Epistles and Eevelation (fifth century). 

3. Codex Bezae, kept at Cambridge, England, 
containing nearly all the Gospels and nothing 
else of the N. T. except portions of Acts (sixth 
century). It has a very bad reputation, as fully 
exposed by Dean Burgon. No editor appears 
to attach importance to it. 

The Discoveky of the Mt. Sinai Ms. 

This famous Codex (with fac-similes of the 
handwriting, and with an account of its dis- 



covery) is published in full in Dr. Scrivener's 
work entitled '*A Full Collation of the Codex 
Sinaiticus" (1864). 

Constantine Tischendorf, a noted German 
scholar, who was indefatigable in the quest of 
old manuscripts, was visiting, in the year 1^4, 
a monastery on Mt. Sinai, and in the course of 
that visit he chanced to find one day, among the 
waste, some leaves of vellum which, upon in- 
spection, were found to contain parts of the 
Septuagint Version of the 0. T. in a script 
which indicated that the Ms. was of great anti- 

In describing his famous discovery Tischen- 
dorf says : 

''I perceived in the middle of the great hall a large 
and wide basket, full of old parchments; and the 
librarian informed me that two heaps of papers like 
this, mouldered by reason of age, had been already 
committed to the flames. What was my surprise to 
find among this heap of documents a considerable 
number of sheets of a copy of the Old Testament in 
Greek, which seemed to me to be one of the most 
ancient I had ever seen." 

The monks allowed him to take forty-five of 
the sheets. But nothing more transpired until 
fifteen years later, when he again visited the 
monastery, this time under the direct patronage 
of the Czar of Eussia. And then he was shown 
a bulky roll of parchment leaves, which in- 
cluded, among other manuscripts of lesser im- 



portance, the Codex now known as the Sinaitic. 

Naturally enough Dr. Tischendorf was highly 
elated by his discovery. Indeed his enthusiasm 
was unbounded. He says, "I knew that I held 
in my hands the most precious Biblical treasure 
in existence;" and he considered this discovery 
to be *' greater than that of the Koh-i-nor of the 
Queen of England." 

As usual in such cases this important *'find" 
made a great stir, especially amongst those who 
devote themselves to the study of antiquity. 
We are all aware of the marked tendency of 
human nature to exaggerate the importance of 
every *'find." Examples of this sort greet us 
from time to time. The discovery of the tomb 
of an Egyptian king is regarded as a matter of 
such supreme interest to all the world, that even 
trivial details connected with it are communi- 
cated by cable to the ends of the earth, and are 
given prominence in the daily newspapers. 
Thus an ancient article recently exhumed from 
the rubbish of a long buried city will oftentimes 
start a wave of excitement throughout the 
world; whereas an article of identical sort, 
known to have been in existence for some time, 
would be treated with complete indifference. 
"We need not wonder, therefore, that the great 
scholar was carried away by his chance discov- 
ery, and that he succeeded in impressing upon 
others also his own idea of the surpassing im- 
portance of his **find." 



Dean Burgon, speaking of Tischendorf and 
his discovery, aptly remarks : 

''Happy in having discovered (in 1859) an uncial 
Codex, second in antiquity only to the oldest before 
known (the Vatican Codex), and strongly resembling 
that famous fourth century Codex, he suffered his 
judgment to be overpowered by the circumstance. 
He at once remodelled his 7th edition (i. e., the 7th 
edition of his Greek Text of the New Testament) in 
3,505 places, to the scandal of the Science of Com- 
parative Criticism, as well as to his own grave dis- 
credit for discernment and consistency." 

Evidently then, Tischendorf was carried off 
his feet by the subjective influence of his dis- 
covery; for he at once surrendered his judg- 
ment to this particular Ms., easily persuading 
himself that, because of its apparent antiquity, 
and without regard to any other considerations, 
it must needs be right in every instance where it 
differed from later manuscripts. 

Thus, having fully committed himself to that 
view, he naturally adhered to it thereafter. 

Unfortunately, however, the weight of his 
great influence affected the whole school of 
Comparative Textual Criticism. For Dean 
Burgon goes on to say : 

"But in fact the infatuation which prevails to this 
hour (1883) in this department of sacred science can 
only be spoken of as incredible." 



And lie proceeds to show, by proofs which fill 
many pages ''that the one distinctive tenet of* 
the three most famous critics since 1831 (Lach-I 
mann, Tregelles and Tischendorf) has been a! 
superstitious reverence for what is found in the 
same little handful of early (but not the earliest, 
nor yet of necessity the purest) documents." 

In this connection it should be always borne 
in mind that those text-makers who profess to 
adopt as their controlling principle the accep- 
tance on disputed points of the testimony of 
''the most ancient manuscripts," have not acted 
consistently with that principle. For the fact 
is that, in the compilation of their Greek Texts 
they have not really followed the most ancient 
manuscripts, but have been controlled hy two 
manuscripts only. Those two are followed even 
against the counter evidence of all other avail- 
able manuscripts, amounting to over a thousand, 
some of which are practically of equal age, and 
against the evidence also of Versions and of 
quotations from the writings of "fathers" much 
older than the two Codices referred to. But to 
this feature of our subject we expect to return. 


Chapteb IV 

Characteristics of the Two Oldest 

THE principle wMch the modern editors 
have adopted, namely, that of following 
the oldest manuscripts in settling all ques- 
tions of doubtful or disputed readings, throws 
us back upon the two Codices (Vaticanus and 
Sinaitic) which, though not dated, are regarded 
by all competent antiquarians as belonging to 
the fourth century ; and its practical effect is to 
make those two solitary survivors of the first 
four Christian centuries the final authorities, 
where they agree (which is not always the case), 
upon all questions of the true Text of Scripture. 
Therefore it behooves us to inquire with the 
utmost care into the character of these two 
ancient witnesses, and to acquaint ourselves 
with all available facts whereby their trust- 
worthiness may be tested. And this inquiry is 
necessary, regardless of what may be our opin- 
ion concerning the principle of "ancient evi- 
dence only," which we propose to examine later 
on. For what now confronts us is the fact that 
those two fourth century Codices have had the 
deciding voice in the settling of the Greek Text 



of the E. V. and are responsible for practically 
all the departures from the Eeceived Text to 
which serious objection has been made. Thus, 
Canon Cook in his authoritative work on * * The 
Eevised Version of the First Three Gospels" 

''The two oldest Mss. are responsible for nearly all 
the readings which we have brought under consid- 
eration — readings which, when we look at them 
individually, and still more when we regard them 
collectively, inflict most grievous damage upon our 
Lord 's words and works. ' ' 

And again : 

"By far the greatest number of innovations, in- 
cluding those which give the severest shocks to our 
minds, are adopted on the testimony of two manu- 
scripts, or even of one manuscript, against the dis- 
tinct testimony of all other manuscripts, uncial and 
cursive. . . . The Vatican Codex, sometimes alone, but 
generally in accord with the Sinaitic, is responsible 
for nine-tenths of the most striking innovations in 
the R. V." 

Dean Burgon, whom we shall have occasion to 
quote largely because of his mastery of the en- 
tire subject, after having spent five and a half 
years ''laboriously collating the five old uncials 
throughout the Gospels," declared at the com- 
pletion of his prodigious task that — 



"So manifest are the disfigurements jointly and 
exclusively exhibited by the two codices (Vatican 
and Sinaitic) that, instead of accepting them as two 
independent witnesses to the inspired original, we 
are constrained to regard them as little more than a 
single reproduction of one and the same scandalously 
corrupt and comparatively late copy." 

The Many Coerections of the Sinaitic Ms. 

Turning our attention first to the Codex 
Sinaiticus, we would lay stress upon a matter 
which, in our judgment, has a decisive bearing 
upon the all-important question of the trust- 
worthiness of that ancient manuscript. And we 
are the more urgent to impress this particular 
matter upon the consideration of our readers 
because — notwithstanding its controlling im- 
portance — ^it has been practically ignored in 
such discussions of the subject as have come 
under our eye. 

What we now refer to is the fact that, since 
this document was first inscribed, it has been 
made the subject of no less than ten different 
attempts at revision and correction. The num- 
ber of these attempts is witnessed by the differ- 
ent chirographics of the revisers, and the cen- 
turies in which they were respectively made can 
be approximated by the character of the differ- 
ent hand-writings by which the several sets of 
corrections were carried out. 

Dr. Scrivener published (in 1864) "A Full 
Collation of the Codex Sinaiticus," with an 



explanatory introduction in wMch he states, 
among other facts of interest, that "The Codex 
is covered with such alterations" — i. e., altera- 
tions of an obviously correctional character— 
*' brought in by at least ten different revisers, 
some of them systematically spread over every 
page, others occasional, or limited to separate 
portions of the Ms., many of these being con- 
temporaneous with the first writer, but for the 
greater part belonging to the sixth or seventh 
century. ' ' 

We are sure that every intelligent reader mil 
perceive, and with little effort, the immense sig- 
nificance of this feature of the Sinaitic Codex. 
Here is a document which the Revisers have 
esteemed (and that solely because of its anti- 
quity) to be so pure that it should be taken as a 
standard whereby all other copies of the Scrip- 
tures are to be tested and corrected. Such is 
the estimate of certain scholars of the 19th cen- 
tury. But it bears upon its face the proof that 
those in whose possession it had been, from the 
very first, and for some hundreds of years 
thereafter, esteemed it to be so impure as to 
require correction in every part. 

Considering the great value to its owner of 
such a manuscript (it is on vellum of the finest 
quality) and that he would be most reluctant to 
consent to alterations in it except the need was 
clearly apparent, it is plain that this much ad- 
mired Codex bears upon its face the most incon- 



testible proof of its corrupt and defective char- 
acter . 

But more than that, Dr. Scrivener tells us that 
the evident purpose of the thorough-going re- 
vision which he places in the 6th or 7th century 
was to make the Ms. conform to manuscripts in 
vogue at that time which were '*far nearer to 
our modern Textus Receptus." 

The evidential value of these numerous at- 
tempts at correcting the Sinaitic Codex, and of 
the plainly discernible purpose of the most im- 
portant of those attempts is such that, by all the 
sound rules and principles of evidence, this 
"ancient witness," so far from tending to raise 
doubts as to the trustworthiness and textual 
purity of the Eeceived Text, should be regarded 
as affording strong confirmation thereof. 

From these facts therefore we deduce: first 
that the impurity of the Codex Sinaiticus, in 
every part of it, was fully recognized by those 
best acquainted with it — and that from the very 
beginning until the time when it was finally cast 
aside as worthless for any practical purpose; 
and second that the Text recognized in those 
days as the standard Text, and by which the de- 
fective Codex now so highly rated by scholars 
was corrected, was one that agreed with our 
Textus Receptus. It is most surprising that 
facts which affect so profoundly the evidential 
value of the Codex Sinaiticus, facts which in- 
deed change it from a hostile to a friendly wit- 



ness (as regards the Eeceived Text) should 
have been so completely disregarded. 

The Wokk op an Incompetent Sceibe 

But there are other characteristics of this old 
Ms. which have to be taken into consideration if 
a correct estimate of its evidential value is to be 
reached. Thus, there are internal evidences that 
lead to the conclusion that it was the work of a 
scribe who was singularly careless, or incom- 
petent, or both. In this Ms. the arrangement of 
the lines is peculiar, there being four columns 
on each page, each line containing about twelve 
letters — all capitals run together. There is no 
attempt to end a word at the end of a line, for 
even words having only two letters as en, ek, are 
split in the middle, the last letter being carried 
over to the beginning of the next line, though 
there was ample room for it on the line preced- 
ing. This and other peculiarities give us an 
idea of the character and competence of the 

But more than that. Dr. Scrivener says: 
* ' This manuscript must have been derived from 
one in which the lines were similarly divided, 
since the writer occasionally omits just the 
number of letters which would suffice to fill a 
line, and that to the utter ruin of the sense ; as if 
his eye had heedlessly wandered to the line im- 
mediately below." Dr. Scrivener cites in- 
stances ** where complete lines are omitted," 



and others ** where the copyist passed in the 
middle of a line to the corresponding portion of 
the line below.'* 

From this it is evident that the work of copy- 
ing was done by a scribe who was both heedless 
and incompetent. A carefnl copyist would not 
have made the above, and other, mistakes so 
frequently; and only the most incompetent 
would have failed to notice, upon reading over 
the page, and to correct, omissions which utterly 
destroyed the sense. 

Dr. Scrivener's judgment on this feature of 
the case is entitled to the utmost confidence, not 
only because of his great ability as a textual 
critic, but because, being impressed, as all anti- 
quarians were, with the importance of Tischen- 
dorf's discovery, it was solely from a sheer 
sense of duty and honesty, and with manifest 
reluctance, that he brought himself to point out 
the defects of the manuscript. Therefore, the 
following admission made by him carries much 
weight : 

"It must be confessed indeed that the Codex 
Sinaitieus abounds with similar errors of the eye 
and pen, to an extent not unparalleled, but happily 
rather unusual in documents of first rate importance; 
so that Tregelles has freely pronounced that 'the 
state of the text, as proceeding from the first scribe, 
may be regarded as very rough.' " 



Speaking of the character of the two oldest 
Mss. Dean Burgon says: 

"The impurity of the text exhibited by these 
codices is not a question of opinion but of fact. . . . 
In the Gospels alone Codex B (Vatican) leaves out 
words or whole clauses no less than 1,491 times. It 
bears traces of careless transcription on every page. 
Codex Sinaiticus 'abounds with errors of the eye and 
pen to an extent not indeed unparalleled, but happily 
rather unusual in documents of first-rate impor- 
tance.' On many occasions 10, 20, 30, 40 words are 
dropped through very carelessness. Letters and 
words, even whole sentences, are frequently written 
twice over, or begun and immediately cancelled; 
while that gross blunder, whereby a clause is omitted 
because it happens to end in the same words as the 
clause preceding, occurs no less than 115 times in the 
New Testament." 

In enumerating and describing the five an- 
cient Codices now in existence, Dean Burgon 
remarks that four of these, and especially the 
Vatican and Sinaitic Mss. "have, within the 
last twenty years, established a tyrannical 
ascendancy over the imagination of the critics 
which can only be fitly spoken of as a blind su- 
perstition. ' ' Those ancient Codices have indeed 
been blindly followed, notwithstanding that 
they differ **not only from ninety-nine out of a 
hundred of the whole body of extant Mss. be- 
sides, but even from one another. This last cir- 
cumstance, obviously fatal to their corporate 
pretensions, is unaccountably overlooked. As 



said of the two false witnesses that came to 
testify against Christ, so it may be said of these 
witnesses who are brought forward at this late 
day to testify against the Eeceived Text, **Bnt 
neither so did their witness agree together." 

The Numbee and Kinds op DiPFEREisrcES 

As a sufficient illustration of the many differ- 
ences between these two Codices and the great 
body of other Mss. we note that, in the Gospels 
alone. Codex Vaticanus differs from the Ee- 
ceived Text in the following particulars: It 
omits at least 2,877 words; it adds 536 words; 
it substitutes 935 words; it transposes 2,098 
words ; and it modifies 1,132 ; making a total of 
7,578 verbal divergences. But the Sinaitic Ms. 
is even worse, for its total divergences in the 
particulars stated above amount to nearly nine 

Summing up the case against these two fourth 
century Codices (with which he includes the 
Beza, supposedly of the sixth) Dean Burgon 
solemnly assures us, and ** without a particle of 
hesitation, that they are three of the most scan- 
dalously Gorjupt copies extant;" that they "ex- 
hibit the most shamefully mutilated texts which 
are anywhere to be met with;" that they *'have 
beconae (by whatever process, for their history 
is wholly unknown) the depositories of the larg- 
est amount of fabricated readings, ancient 
blunders, and intentional perversions of truth, 



which are discoverable in any known copies of 
the Word of God" (italics in the original). 

These are strong statements, but the facts on 
which they are based seem fully to warrant 
them. Therefore it matters not what specific 
excellencies might be attributed to the Eevised 
Version of the New Testament, the fact that the 
underlying Greek Text was fashioned in con- 
formity to the Mss. referred to in the above 
quoted paragraph is reason enough why it 
should be shunned by Bible users. 

In describing the foregoing characteristics of 
the two most ancient Codices, as revealed by a 
minute inspection thereof, and by careful com- 
parison with the Received Text, we are not los- 
ing sight of the fact that the many divergences 
between the two do not of themselves tend to 
show the corruption of the former, since those 
differences may be explained equally well upon 
the theory adopted by the Eevisionists, and 
supported by the more modern Greek editors, 
namely, that the two ancient Codices are the 
repositories of the purer Text, and that the cor- 
ruptions and departures are with the Received 
Text and the sources from which it has been 

But let it be remembered in the first place 
that it is for the supporters of the two ancient 
Codices, as against the Received Text, to estab- 
lish their case by a preponderance of testimony ; 
for the burden of proof rests heavily upon them. 



It is for them to show, and by testimony wMch 
carries thorough conviction, that God left His 
people for fifteen centuries or more to the bad 
effects of a corrupt text, until, in fact, the chance 
discovery by Constantine Tischendorf, in the 
middle of the 19th century, of some leaves of 
parchment so slightly valued by their custodi- 
ans that they had been thrown into the waste 
paper basket, and until (for some mysterious 
and as yet unexplained reason) the Codex Vati- 
canus was exhumed from its suspicious sleeping 
place at the papal headquarters.* It is for them 
to explain, if they can, the concurrence of a 
thousand manuscripts, widely distributed geo- 
graphically, and spread over a thousand years 
of time, and of the many Versions and writings 
of * 'fathers" going back to the second century 
of our era. That there were corrupt and defec- 
tive copies in the early centuries — ^many of the 
alterations having been made with deliberate 
intent — is well known; and to account for the 
survival of a few of these (three at the most) is 
not a difficult matter. Indeed there is good 
reason to believe that they owe their prolonged 
existence to the fact that they were knoA\Ti to be, 
by reason of their many defects, unfit for use. 

* It is easy to understand why this particular Ms. is cherished at 
the "Vatican; for its corruptioBs are what make it valuable to the 
leaders of the papal system. We can conceive therefore the satisfac- 
tion of those leaders that their highly prized Ms. has been allo-wed to 
play the leading part in the revision of the English Bible, than which 
there is nothing on earth they have more reason to fear. On the 
other hand, may not this be one of the causes why G^d, in His over- 
ruling providence has frustrated the attempt to displace the A. V. by 
& new version, based upon such a sandy foundation ? 



But, on the other hand, the fact (as is admitted) 
of the existence everywhere of a Text repre- 
sented now by over a thousand extant manu- 
scripts, and agreeing with the Received Text, 
can be accounted for only upon the supposition 
that that is the true Text. 

Furthermore, we have shown by what has 
been presented above that the two most ancient 
Codices exhibit clear internal evidences of their 
defective character; and we have shown also 
that, in case of the Sinaitic Ms., the thoroughly 
corrupt and defective work of the original 
scribe (or scribes) was well known to genera- 
tion after generation of those through whose 
hands it passed. 


Briefly then to sum up the matter thus far, 
we observe : 

1. That the most important and deplorable of 
the departures of the New Greek Text from the 
Received Text have been made with the support 
of less than one percent of all the available 
witnesses; or in other words, the readings dis- 
carded by the Revisers have the support of over 
99 percent of the surviving Greek Texts (besides 
Versions and ** Fathers"). 

2. That the two Mss. which had the control- 
ling influence in most of these departures are so 



corrupt upon their face as to justify the con- 
clusion that they owe their survival solely to 
their bad reputation. 

With these facts before us, and in view also 
of the leading part the English speaking peo- 
ples were to play in shaping the destinies of 
mankind during the eventful centuries follow- 
ing the appearance of the Version of 1611, we 
are justified in believing that it was through 
a providential ordering that the preparation of 
that Version was not in anywise affected by 
higher critical theories in general, or specifically 
by the two ancient Codices we have been dis- 
cussing. For when we consider what the A. V. 
was to be to the world, the incomparable in- 
fluence it was to exert in shaping the course of 
events, and in accomplishing those eternal pur- 
poses of God for which Christ died and rose 
again and the Holy Spirit came down from 
heaven — ^when we consider that this Version 
was to be, more than all others combined, **the 
Sword of the Spirit," and that all this was fully 
known to God beforehand, we are fully war- 
ranted in the belief that it was not through 
chance, but by providential control of the cir- 
cumstances, that the translators had access to 
just those Mss. which were available at that 
time, and to none others. This belief in no way 
conflicts with the fact that man's part in the 
preparation of the A. V. is marked, and plainly 
enough, by man's infirmities. 


Chapteb V 

The Principle of, "Ancient Evidence 
Only" Examined 

WE COME now to the exammation of the 
principle adopted by the various edi- 
tors of the Greek Text of the Bible, a 
principle that was imposed upon the Eevision 
Committee, though that imposition was accom- 
plished in such a way (as hereinafter pointed 
out) that many of them apparently were not 
aware of it until after they disbanded. 

We fully admit that the principle of follow- 
ing the most ancient manuscripts is, on its face, 
reasonable and safe ; for it is indisputable that 
(other things being equal) the copies nearest to 
the original autographs are most likely to be 
freest from errors. If therefore it were a ques- 
tion whether or not we should follow, in the 
fashioning of a Greek Text, the earliest as 
against later manuscripts, there would be no 
** question" at all; for all would agree. But, as 
the case actually stands, it is impossible for us 
to follow the earliest manuscripts, for the 
simple reason that they no longer exist. Not a 
single copy of the many thousands that were 
made, circulated, and read in the first three cen- 



turies is known to exist to-day. We do have 
Versions and patristic quotations that date 
back to the second century, and these, according 
to the principle we are discussing, are entitled 
to great weight. Is it not strange therefore, 
that those who justify their course by appealing 
to, and by professing to follow blindly, that 
principle, should cast it aside and accept the 
readings of fourth century Codices, where these 
are in conflict with second century Versions and 
quotations ? 

Seeing then that the earliest manuscripts are 
no longer in existence, we cannot follow them, 
and hence it is clear that the problem which con- 
fronts us is one that cannot be solved by applica- 
tion of the simple rule we are discussing. 
Briefly, the situation is this : We have on the 
one hand, the Greek Text of 1611 which served 
as the basis for the A. V. — a Text that repre- 
sents and agrees with a thousand manuscripts 
going back as far as the fifth century, and with 
Versions and quotations going back to the sec- 
ond. As to this there is no dispute at all; for 
Drs. Westcott and Hort admit the existence of 
this Text, and even assume that it was discussed 
and approved by convocations of the Eastern 
churches as early as the third century. On the 
other hand, we have the Codices Vaticanus, 
Sinaiticus, and Beza, supposedly dating, as to 
the first two, from the fourth century, and as to 
the last from the sixth, which manuscripts pre- 



sent thousands of divergences (omissions, addi- 
tions, substitutions, transpositions, and modifi- 
cations) from the Received Text. Upon such a 
state of things the question presented for deci- 
sion is this: Shall we stand by the Received 
Text (accepting corrections thereof wherever 
they can be established by preponderating 
proof and putting those ancient Codices on the 
level of other witnesses, to be tested as to their 
credibility like all others) 1 Or shall we abandon 
the Textus Receptus in favor of that of West- 
cott and Hort, or of some other of the half dozen 
that profess to be shaped by the principle of 
following the ancient manuscripts ? This is the 
question we propose to discuss in the present 

It should be observed, before we proceed with 
this question, that the agreeing testimony 
(where they do agree) of the Vatican and 
Sinaitic Mss. cannot be properly regarded as 
having the force of two independent witnesses ; 
for there are sufficient evidences, both internal 
and external, to warrant the conclusion that 
these two Codices are very closely related, that 
they are, in fact, copies of the same original, 
itself a very corrupt transcript of the New 
Testament. For while it is admitted on all 
hands that the Text used as the basis of the 
Authorized Version correctly represents a Text 
known to have been widely (if not everywhere) 
in use as early as the second century (for the 



PescMto and Old Latin Versions, corroborated 
by patristic quotations afford ample proof of 
that), on the other hand it is not known that the 
two Codices we are discussing represent any- 
thing but copies of a bad original, made worse 
in the copying. 

Divine Safeguaeds to the Text 

It is appropriate at this point to direct atten- 
tion to the Divinely ordaiaed means which have 
thus far protected the Sacred Text from serious 
corruption. He who gave to men the Holy 
Scriptures to serve throughout the age as the 
sure foundation of that * 'faith of the Son of 
God" which alone avails for personal salvation, 
and to be also the sufficient rule of life and con- 
duct for * * the household of faith, ' ' has not failed 
to devise effectual means for the preservation 
of His written "Word. The means in question 
are, according to God's usual way of continuing 
the line of a living thing, incidental to and in- 
herent in the thing itself, and not something 
extraneous thereto. For it is a part of the nor- 
mal life of every individual to provide for the 
continuance and multiplication of individuals of 
its own kind. Thus, as the grain supplies not 
only bread to the eater, but also seed to the 
sower, so in like manner God has provided that 
His living Word should both feed every genera- 
tion of saints, and should also increase and 
multiply itself. As it is written, "And the Word 



of God increased" (Ac. 6;7) ; and again, "Bnt 
the Word of God grew and multiplied" (Ac. 
12:24) ; and once more, '*So mightily grew the 
Word of God and prevailed" (Ac. 19:20). 

The means which mainly have served to ac- 
complish the purpose referred to, are these : 

1. The necessity that there should be a great 
and steadily increasing multiplication of copies ; 
for this provides automatically the most effec- 
tual security imaginable against corruption of 
the Text. 

2. The necessity that the Scriptures should 
be translated into divers languages. This trans- 
lation of the Written Word into various tongues 
is but a carrying out of that which the miracle 
of Pentecost indicated as a distinctive charac- 
teristic of this age, namely, that everyone 
should hear the saving truth of God in the 
tongue wherein he was horn. Thus, the agree- 
ment of two or more of the earliest Versions 
would go a long way towards the establishment 
of the true reading of any disputed passage. 

It is appropriate at this point to direct atten- 
tion to the very great value of a Version as a 
witness to the purity of the original Text from 
which it was translated. Those who undertake 
a work of such importance as the translation of 
the New Testament into a foreign language 
would, of course, make sure, as the very first 
step, that they had the best obtainable Greek 
Text. Therefore a Version (as the Syriac or 



Old Latin) of the second century is a clear wit- 
ness as to the Text recognized at that early day 
as the true Text. 

This point has an important bearing upon the 
question we are now examining. For, remem- 
bering that "we have no actual * Copies* (i. e., 
original Greek Texts) so old as the Syriac and 
Latin * Versions' (i. e., translations) b^ prob- 
ably more than 200 years" (The Traditional 
Text, Burgon and Miller), and that "The oldest 
Versions are far more ancient than the oldest 
(Greek) manuscripts" (Canon Cook), and re- 
membering too that those venerable Versions 
prove the existence in their day of a standard 
Text agreeing essentially with our Textus Re- 
ceptus, and it will be recognized that "the most 
ancient evidence" is all in favor of the latter. 

3. The activity of the earliest assailants of 
the church necessitated, on the part of the de- 
fenders of the faith, and that from the very be- 
ginning, that they should quote extensively from 
every part of the New Testament. In this way 
also a vast amount of evidence of the highest 
credibility, as to the true reading of disputed 
passages, has been accumulated, and has come 
down to us in the writings of the so-called 
"Church Fathers." 

But of what avail would all these checks and 
safeguards have been if men had been allowed 
to follow a principle so obviously unsound as 
that the most ancient manuscripts are to have 



the deciding voice in every dispute? However, 
God can be trusted to see to it that all attempts 
to sweep away His protecting means should fail 
— as in this case. 

The Value op Compaeatively Late Mss. 

It is quite true that most of the extant copies 
of the Greek New Testament date from the 10th 
to the 14th century. Thus they are separated 
from the inspired original Writings by a thou- 
sand years or more. Yet, that they faithfully 
represent those originals, and that the concur- 
rence of a large majority of them would cor- 
rectly decide every disputed reading, no reason- 
able person should ever doubt. The extant 
texts of secular writers of antiquity (as Hero- 
dotus, Thucydides, and Sophocles) are but few 
in comparison with the thousand manuscripts 
of the Scriptures, and are separated from their 
originals by 500 additional years. Moreover, 
they lack the extraordinary safeguards, men- 
tioned above, whereby the integrity of the 
Scriptures has been protected. Yet no one 
doubts that we have correct texts of those an- 
cient writers. So the fact is that the security 
which the Text of the Scriptures has enjoyed is, 
as has been well said, "altogether unique and 
extraordinary. * ^ 



Ereors of Omission 

In considering the principle of following the 
most ancient manuscripts it is important to 
note how it works in the case of that commonest 
of all errors — errors of omission; and in dis- 
cussing this point we would take as an example 
the question of the last twelve verses of the 
Gospel of Mark (referred to specifically later 
on). Those verses are absolutely necessary to 
the completeness of the Gospel; yet because 
they are not in "the two most ancient Mss." 
the Revisionists have marked them as probably 

Here then we may propose a question upon 
which the merits of the B. V. may be decided, at 
least to a very large extent : Should the purely 
negative testimony of those two Codices (i. e., 
the fact that certain words and passages are not 
found in them) be allowed to overthrow the 
affirmative testimony of hundreds of other 
Greek Manuscripts, Versions, and quotations 
from the * ' church fathers ? ' ' This is a question 
which anyone of ordinary intelligence can be 
trusted to decide correctly when the following 
points (to which Dr. Hort and the majority of 
the Revision Committee must have been 
strangely blinded) are taken into account: 

1. The commonest of all mistakes in copying 
manuscripts, or in repeating a matter, are mis- 
takes of omission, or lapses of memory, or the 



results of inattention. Hence it is an accepted 
principle of evidence that the testimony of one 
competent witness, who says he saw or heard a 
certain thing, carries more weight than that of 
a dozen who, though on the spot, can only say 
that they did not see or hear it, or that they do 
not remember it. Therefore, other things being 
equal, the affirmative evidence of the other three 
ancient Codices and Versions, and that of the 
"fathers" who quote those verses as unques- 
tioned Scripture, is an hundred fold more 
worthy of credence than the negative testimony 
of the two which were allowed to control in set- 
tling the text of the B. V. 

2. As we have already stated, a superstitious 
deference was paid to the Sinai and Vatican 
Mss. because of their (supposed) greater anti- 
quity, the assumption being that the older the 
Ms. the more likely is it to be correct. But that 
assumption is wholly unwarrantable. In the 
concrete case before us, we have, in support of 
the Text of the A. V., the concurrent testimony 
of many manuscripts, from many different 
parts of the world; and though these were 
copies of older copies no longer in existence, yet, 
upon the soundest principles of the law of evi- 
dence, their concurrent testimony serves to 
establish conclusively the various disputed pas- 
sages, where the two ancient Codices present 

The question of the authenticity of the last 



twelve verses of the Gospel by Mark is of sucli 
importance that we propose to cite the testi- 
mony in regard thereto more fully in a subse- 
quent chapter. We are referring to it here only 
as an impressive illustration of a general prin- 
ciple. That principle (the causes of errors of 
omission) is of exceptional importance in this 
case because, as we have seen, the original scribe 
of the Sinaitic Codex was peculiarly given to 
errors of that sort. 

A Test of the Principle op "Ancient 

Let us take an illustration of what wfe are here 
seeking to establish, namely, that the concur- 
rent testimony of the manuscripts which sup- 
port the Received Text conclusively establish 
its authenticity in parts where it differs from 
the *'New Greek Text" of Westcott and Hort. 
For this purpose let us suppose that a hundred 
copies of a certain original document in a cen- 
tral business office were made by different copy- 
ists and sent to as many different branch-offices 
in various parts of the world; and suppose that, 
since the document contained directions for the 
carrying on of the business for many genera- 
tions, it had to be copied again and again as the 
individual Mss. were worn out through usage. 
Suppose further that, after centuries of time, 
one of the earliest copies should turn up which, 
upon examination, was found to lack a word or 



sentence found in later copies in actual service, 
and that it were deemed important to settle the 
question of the authenticity of that word or sen- 
tence. Suppose further that, for the purpose in 
view, a dozen of the manuscripts then in actual 
use in various and far distant parts of the 
world, each one being a late copy of previously 
used and worn-out copies, were examined, and 
that the disputed word or sentence were found 
in each of those late copies, is it not clear that 
the authenticity thereof would he established 
beyond all reasonable dispute? Such must be 
the conclusion, because the absence thereof in 
the ancient copy could be easily accounted for, 
whereas its presence in a number of later copies, 
each of which came from a distinct source, could 
not be accounted for except on the assumption 
of its genuineness. 

But let us suppose that, in addition to the 
various copies in use in various places, there 
existed certain translations (versions in foreign 
languages) which translations were earlier than 
the very earliest of the existing manuscripts in 
the original tongue; and also that many quota- 
tions of the disputed passage were found in the 
writings of persons who had lived in or near the 
days when the document itself was written ; and 
suppose that the disputed word or sentence 
were found in every translation and every quo- 
tation, would not its genuineness be established 
beyond the faintest shadow of a doubt? 



This supposititious case will give a good idea 
of the strength of the evidence in favor of the 
Text of the A. V. For in the settling of that Text 
due weight was given to the concurrent testi- 
mony of the numerous Mss. in actual use in dif- 
ferent churches, widely separated from one an- 
other; and also to the corroborating testimony 
of the most ancient Versions and of the patristic 
writings ; whereas, in the settling of the text of 
the E. V. the evidence of highest grade was uni- 
formly rejected in favor of that of the lowest 

The Strength of the Case in Favor op 
THE Eeceiv^ed Text 

3. But the case in favor of the Greek Text of 
the A. V. is far stronger than this. For when 
the two Mss. which controlled the Westcott and 
Hort text are scrutinized, they are found to con- 
tain such internal proofs of their unreliability 
as to impeach their own testimony, and render 
them utterly unworthy of belief. They present 
the case of witnesses who have been caught in 
so many misstatements as to discredit their 
entire testimony. 

To begin with, their history renders them 
justly open to suspicion. For why should a 
special Ms. be carefully treasured in the Vati- 
can, if not for the reason that it contained er- 
rors and textual corruptions favorable to the 
doctrines and practices of Bome ? And why was 



the other Ms., discovered in the last century by 
Tischendorf, allowed to lie in disuse for hun- 
dreds of years from the fourth century (as sup- 
posed) until the nineteenth? A reasonable in- 
ference would be that the Ms. was cast aside and 
ultimately consigned to the waste paper basket, 
because it was known to be permeated with er- 
rors of various sorts. And this inference is 
raised to the level of practical certainty by the 
fact that, time and again, the work of correct- 
ing the entire manuscript was undertaken by 
successive owners. 

But not to dwell longer upon mere circum- 
stances, the two Mss., when carefully examined, 
are found to bear upon their face clear evi- 
dences that they were derived from a common, 
and a very corrupt, source. The late Dr. 
Edward Vining of Cambridge, Mass., has gone 
thoroughly into this, and has produced evi- 
dence tending to show that they were copies 
(and most carelessly made) of an original 
brought bv Origen out of Egvpt. where, as is 
well known, the Scriptures were corrupted al- 
most from the beginning in the interest of the 
same ascetic practices as now characterize the 
church of Eome. 

Dr. Scrivener (generally regarded as the 
ablest of the textual critics) says that *'the 
worst corruptions to which the New Testament 
has ever been subjected originated within a 
himdred years after it was composed,'* and that 



''IrenaBus and the African fathers used far 
inferior manuscripts to those employed by 
Stunica, or Erasmus, or Stephens, thirteen cen- 
turies later, when moulding the Textus Recep- 

In view of such facts as these, it is easy to see 
what havoc would result to the sacred text if (as 
actually happened in the production of the R. 
V.) its composition were controlled by two man- 
uscripts of Egyptian origin, to the actual repu- 
diation of the consensus of hundreds of later 
manuscripts of good repute, of the most ancient 
and trustworthy of the Versions, and of the 
independent witness of the earliest Christian 

4. Bearing in mind that, as Dr. Kenyon of 
the British Museum says, **the manuscripts of 
the New Testament are counted by hundreds 
and even thousands," it is a cause for astonish- 
ment that credence should have been given in 
any instance to the Vatican or Sinai Ms. (or 
both together in cases where they agree) 
against the agreeing testimony of the multitude 
of opposing witnesses. But such was the rule 
consistently followed in compiling the Text for 
the B. V. Canon Cook in his book on the ** Re- 
vised Version of the First Three Gospels," 
says : 

"By far the greatest number of innovations, in- 
cluding those which give the severest shocks to our 
minds, are adopted on the testimony of two manu- 



scripts, or even of one manuscript, against the dis- 
tinct testimony of all other manuscripts, uncial and 
cursive.* . . . The Vatican Codex, sometimes alone, 
but generally in accord with the Sinaitic, is respon- 
sible for nine-tenths of the most striking innovations 

We have deemed it worth while to examine 
with some care the principle whereby modern 
editors of the Greek Text of the New Testament 
profess to have been guided, and this for the 
reasons, first, that the question here discussed, 
and the facts whereby it must be determined, lie 
beyond the reach of most of those for whose 
benefit we are writing; and second, that if we 
are right in our view that the principle we are 
discussing is utterly unsound, is contrary to the 
rules of evidence, and is certain to lead astray 
those who submit to its guidance, we have taken 
the foundation completely from under the Ee- 
vised Version of 1881 and of every other Ver- 
sion that rests upon the same corrupt Greek 
Text, or one constructed upon the same prin- 

We bring our remarks under this heading to 
a close by quoting the following from Scriven- 
er's ''Plain Introduction to the Text of the 
N. T." (1883): 

* For some centuries after Christ all Greek mamiscripts were written 
entirely in capital letters. Such mss. (the most ancient) are called 
"uncial." In later times the custom of using capitals at the begin- 
ning only of a sentence, or for proper names, came into existence. 
That style of writing is called "cursive." 



"Dr. Hort's system is entirely destitute of histor- 
ical foundation." 

And again : 

"We are compelled to repeat as emphatically as 
ever our strong conviction that the hypothesis to 
which he (Dr. Hort) has devoted so many laborious 
years is destitute not only of historical foundation 
but of all probability resulting from the internal 
goodness of the text which its adoption would force 
upon us. ' ' 

He quotes Dr. Hort as saying, *'We cannot 
doubt that S. Luke 23:34 comes from an ex- 
traneous source," and he replies, "Nor can we, 
on our part, doubt that the system which en- 
tails such consequences is hopelessly self-con- 
demned.' * 

We conclude therefore, from what has been 
under consideration up to this point in our in- 
quiry, that the E. V. should be rejected, not only 
because of the many unsupported departures 
from the A. V. it contains, but because the Greek 
Text whereon it is based was constructed upon 
a principle so unsound that the resulting Text 
could not be other than ''hopelessly" corrupt. 


Chaptee VI 

The Procedure of the Revision 

The Insteuctions Given Them and How They 
Were Careied Out — No Authority Given to 
Fashion a New Greek Text — How Their 
Sanction Was Seemingly Given to the 
Westcott and Hort Text 

SOME of our readers will perhaps be asking 
how it was possible that the learned men 
who composed the Eevision Committee 
could have allowed the great mass of testimony 
which sustains the authenticity of the Eeceived 
Text to be set aside upon the sole authority of 
two Codices so dubious as the two we have been 
discussing. The explanation is that the Eevi- 
sionists did not consider these matters at all. 
They were not supposed to undertake the re- 
fashioning of the Greek Text — for that lay en- 
tirely outside their instructions — and they had 
therefore no occasion to go into the many intri- 
cate matters involved in the weighing of the 
evidence for and against the Eeceived Text. 

Neither was it their province to decide upon 
the soundness of the principle of following an- 


cient Mss. only; and the account of their pro- 
ceedings (published by Dr. Newth, one of the 
Revisers) makes it quite plain that they did not 
have before them, or give any consideration to, 
the weighty matters of fact, affecting the char- 
acter of those two ''ancient witnesses," which 
we are now putting before our readers. It is 
therefore to be noted (and it is an important 
point) that, in regard to the underlying Greek 
Text of the R. V. and the principles that con- 
trolled its formation, no appeal can properly be 
made to the scholarship of the Committee, how- 
soever great it might be. In view of all the facts 
it seems clear that, not until after the Com- 
mittee had disbanded, and their work had come 
under the scrutiny of able scholars and faithful 
men, were they themselves aware that they had 
seemingly given their official sanction to the 
substitution of the ''New Greek Text" of West- 
cott and Hort for the Textus Beceptus. The 
Westcott and Hort Text had not yet been pub- 
lished, and hence had never been subjected to 
scrutiny and criticism; nor had the principles 
upon which it was constructed been investi- 
gated. Only after it was too late were the facts 
realized, even by the Revisers themselves. 

The mischief has thus been traced back to 
those two scholars, and to a Text that had not 
yet seen the light of day and been subjected to 
the scrutiny of other scholars. And we now 
know that not until after the R. V. of the New 



Testament had been published was it known 
that the Westcott and Hort Text had been 
quietly imposed upon the Eevisers, and that it 
was conformed to the two old Codices, Sinaiti- 
cus and Vaticanus. 

Dean Burgon was one of the first to call atten- 
tion to the fact that the most radical departures , 
in the R. V. were not new translations of the i 
Received Text, but were departures that arose i 
from changes in the Greek Text itself. No an- ' 
nouncement of this important fact had been 
made by the Committee ; and indeed there was 
seemingly a disposition to throw a veil over this 
part of the proceedings in Committee. *'But," 
says Dean Burgon, "I traced the mischief home 
to its true authors — Drs. Westcott and Hort — a 
copy of whose unpublished text, the most vicious 
in existence, had been confidentially and under ; 
pledges of the strictest secrecy, placed in the f 
hands of every member of the revising body." 

Dean Burgon thereupon proceeded to publish 
some of these facts in a series of articles which \ 
appeared in the Quarterly Review in 1883 ; and ^ 
subsequent events have amply proved the 
correctness of, his anticipations at that time, \ 
namely that the effect of careful investigations ' 
would eventually convince all competent judges 
that the principles on which the ''New Greek i 
Text" was constructed were ''radically un- 
sound;" and that "the Revision of 1881 must j 
come to be universally regarded as — ^what it 



most certainly is — the most astonishing, as well 
as the most calamitous, literary blunder of the 

Dean Burgon had undertaken the examina- 
tion of the E. V. upon the supposition that that 
work was what its name implies, and what its 
authors had been charged to produce, namely, a 
"Revision of the Authorized Version." But, 
as he puts it, **we speedily found that an en- 
tirely different problem awaited us. We made 
the distressing discovery that the underlying 
Greek Text had been completely refashioned 
throughout." This is the more serious because 
no one, upon reading the preface to the R. V. 
would find any hint at such a thing. But, thanks 
to the thorough investigations of scholars of 
the first rank (some of whom are quoted in this 
volume) it is now possible for all who are inter- 
ested in this great and solemn question, to sat- 
isfy themselves that Drs. Westcott and Hort 
have indeed, as Dean Burgon said, "succeeded 
in producing a Text vastly more remote from 
the inspired autographs of the evangelists and 
apostles of our Lord, than any which has ap- 
peared since the invention of printing." 

Referring in another place to this important 
feature of the case. Dean Burgon said : 

"A revision of the English Authorized Version* 
having been sanctioned by the Convention of the 

* Not, be it observed, a revision of the Q-reeh Text. 



Southern Province in 1871, the opportunity was 
eagerly grasped by two irresponsible scholars of thej 
University of Cambridge (meaning Drs. Westcott 
and Hort) for obtaining the general sanction of thes 
Revising body, and thus indirectly of the Convoca- 
tion itself, for a private venture of their own — their 
privately devised Revision of the Greek Text. On 
that Greek Text of theirs (which I hold to be the 
most depraved that has ever appeared in print) with 
some slight modifications, our English Authorized 
Version has been silently revised: silently, I say, for 
in the margin of the English no record is preserved 
of the underlying Textual changes introduced by the 
Revisionists. On the contrary, use has been made of 
that margin to insinuate suspicion and distrust, in 
countless particulars as to the authenticity of parta^ 
of the Text which have been suffered to remain un- 

The Peoceduee op the Eevisiost Committee 
An account of the mode of procedure of the 
Revision Committee, whereby they settled the 
final reading of the English Text lias been pub- 
lished by one of the members (Dr. Newth) ; and 
as detailed by him it is certainly not calculated 
to inspire us with confidence in the results 
thereby arrived at. This was the mode : A pas- 
sage being under consideration, the Chairman 
asks, "Are any Textual changes proposed?" 
If a change be proposed then **the evidence for 
and against is briefly stated." This is done by 
"two members of the Company — Dr. Scrivener 
and Dr. Hort." And if those two members dis- 
agree "the vote of the Company is taken, and 



the proposed Reading accepted or rejected. 
The Text heim,g thus settled, the Chairman asks 
for proposals on the Rendering" (i. e., the 

Thus it appears that there was no attempt 
whatever on the part of the Revisionists to 
examine the evidence bearing upon the many- 
disputed readings, They only listened to the 
views of two of their number (one of whom, as 
we have seen, was fatally obsessed by a vicious 
theory) and thereupon, in summary fashion, 
they ** settled" the Text by a majority vote. 
Can we possibly have any confidence in a Text 
that was ''settled" by such a slap-dash method! 

Sir Edmund Beckett in his book, ''Should 
the Revised Be Authorized?" (p. 42) aptly re- 
marks upon the above that, if Dr. Newth's de- 
scription ' ' of the process whereby the Revision- 
ists 'settled' the Greek alterations is not a kind 
of a joke, it is quite enough to 'settle' this Re- 
vised Greek Testament in a very different 
sense." And Canon Cook ("R. V. of the First 
Three Gospels Considered") says concerning 
the above explanation by Dr. Newth, "Such a 
proceeding appeared to me so strange that I 
fully expected the account would be corrected, 
or that some explanation would be given which 
might remove the very unpleasant impression. ' ' 
But not so. On the contrary, the Chairman 
himself (Bishop Ellicott) is authority for the 
fact that Dr. Newth's account of the method 



whereby the Greek Text was "settled" is quite 

Sir Edmund Beckett has, we think, put the 
matter very well when he said that Dr. Newth's 
account of the way the Committee on Revision 
"settled" the Greek Text "is quite enough to 
' settle ^ the Revised Version in a very different 
sense." For in the production of the "New 
Greek Text" the Revisers have departed from 
the Textus Receptus nearly 6,000 times. The 
question of every proposed change should have 
been made a matter of careful investigation, 
and should have been reached according to the 
weight of the evidence, for and against. But 
from the published account of the proceedings, 
vouched for by the chairman (Bishop EUicott) 
as correct, we understand that in no case was 
there any examination of the question, or weigh- 
ing of the evidence by the Committee. 

Upon this state of things Bishop Wordsworth 
remarks : 

''The question arises whether the Church of Eng- 
land, which sanctioned a revision of her Authorized 
Version UTider the express condition (which she most 
wisely imposed) that no changes should he made in it 
except such as were absolutely necessary, could con- 
sistently accept a Version in which 36,000 changes 
have been made, not a fiftieth of which can be shown 
to be needed, or even desirable." 


Chapter VII 

Specific Examples of Textual 

ENOUGH has been said, we think, to im- 
peach successfully the credibility of the 
two ''ancient witnesses'^ whose testi- 
mony was so largely relied upon in constructing 
a Greek Text for the R. V. We will therefore 
proceed now to refer to some conspicuous in- 
stances wherein passages or clauses have been 
either corrupted or brought under unjust sus- 
picion through their evidence, which is largely 
of a negative character. And this will throw 
further light upon the character of those wit- 
nesses ; for an effectual way of discrediting their 
testimony is to produce actual instances of the 
mischief that has been done by accepting it. 

The Last Twelve Vekses of Mark 

In his ''unanswered and unanswerable" work 
on this famous passage (published some years 
before the R. V. appeared, so that the Revisers 
were duly informed in regard thereto) Dean 
Burgon wrote as follows : 

"The consentient witness of the manuscripts is 
even extraordinary. With the exception of the two 



imcial manuscripts whicli have just been named 
(Vatican and Sinaitic) there is not one Codex in 
existence, uncial or cursive (and we are acquainted 
with at least eighteen other uncials and about six 
hundred cursives of this Gospel), which leaves out 
the last twelve verses of S. Mark. The omission 
of these twelve verses, I repeat, in itself destroys our 
confidence in Codex B (Vaticanus) and Codex Sinaiti- 
cus. . . . Nothing whatever which has hitherto come 
before us lends the slightest countenance to the 
modern dream that S. Mark's Gospel, as it left the 
hands of its inspired author, ended abruptly at 
verse 8, . . , The notion is an invention, a pure 
imagiaation of the critics, ever since the days of 

The fact that the Revisers have discredited a 
passage so important as the ending of Mark's 
Gospel is enough in itself to arouse suspicion 
as to their entire work, and to create a feeling 
of uncertainty as to their fitness for the great 
task entrusted to them. For the evidence in 
favor of the authenticity of that passage is 
simply overwhelming. 

The Angelic Message (Luke 2 : 14) 

As another typical instance of the sort of 
changes that the Revisionists have attempted 
to introduce through the unsound methods they 
pursued, we take the words of the angelic mes- 
sage, ''And on earth peace, good will towards 
men" (Lu. 2:14). For this the Revisionists, 
upon the authority of the little handful of cor- 



rupt Mss. to which they superstitiously bowed, 
have substituted the uncouth and preposterous 
phrase, ''peace among men in whom he is well 
pleased. ' ^ 

Now we should suppose that every one ac- 
quainted with the language of Scripture, and 
possessed of spiritual discernment to even a 
moderate extent, would unhesitatingly say that 
such a phrase could never have been part of the 
true Word of God. But, going back to the evi- 
dence, it is found that, with the exception of 
four Codices of bad repute (two of which have 
been corrected as to this very passage in loco) 
every existing copy of the Gospels (amounting 
to many hundreds) has the reading of the 
Received Text; and this reading has the sup- 
port of five ancient Versions, and of quotations 
from more than a score of "fathers." It is a 
case where, upon the evidence, there is no room 
for the smallest doubt. And this is a fair ex- 
ample of how the case stands with nearly all 
the changes of the Greek Text. 

The Loed's Agony in the Garden and His 
Prayer for His Murderers 

As further examples of the havoc which the 
system adopted by the Revisers has wrought, 
we would refer to Luke 22:43, 44, and Luke 
23:34. These passages, with many others 
(some of them very important) the Revisers 
have enclosed in brackets in order to indicate 



the ''moral certainty" they entertained that the 
words in question are spurious. The first of 
the above mentioned passages describes the 
Lord's agony and bloody sweat in the garden, 
and the other is the vitally important prayer of 
Christ on the cross, "Father forgive them, for 
they know not what they do. ' ' We have a spe- 
cial comment on this last passage below. 

Now the state of the evidence, as in the last 
preceding instance, is such as to establish be- 
yond all doubt that both these passages are 
genuine Scripture. 

To Save That Which Was Lost 
As another example out of many we take the 
precious words of the Lord Jesus, "The Son of 
man is come to save that which was lost, ' ' which 
are expunged by the Revisionists from Matthew 
18:11, although they are attested by every 
known uncial except three (the usual three of 
bad character), by every known cursive except 
three, by numerous Versions, by the lection- 
aries of many churches, and by a large number 
of "fathers." In a word, the evidence over- 
whelmingly establishes the genuineness of the 

Petek Walking on the Sea 

In Matthew 14 : 30 the A. V. says that when 

Peter ' ' saw the wind boisterous he was afraid. ' ' 

The E. V. strikes out the word "boisterous," 

which, however, is a word of capital importance 



here. The only warrant for this meddlesome 
change, which spoils the sense of the passage, is 
that Tischendorf (alone of all the editors) re- 
jects the word. And the Eevisers have made 
matters worse by putting in the margin the 
utterly misleading statement **many ancient 
authorities add strong." The reader would 
certainly understand from this that the major- 
ity of the authorities, especially the ** ancient" 
ones, omitted the word. But the truth of the 
matter is that the Mss. which omit the word are 
but two; and of them Sir E. Beckett says, "and 
those two manuscripts appear also to be rather 
distinguished for blunders than for excellence." 
Here we have a most unjustifiable alteration, 
coupled with an utterly misleading statement of 
the facts behind it. 

The Mysteey of Godliness 

Another example of vicious and wholly un- 
warranted tampering with an important pas- 
sage, is furnished by the alteration in 1 Timothy 
3:16, whereby the words, ''God was manifest 
in the flesh," are changed to ''he who was mani- 
fested in the flesh." How this change strikes 
at the foundation truth of the Deity of our Lord 
is apparent at a glance. As to the evidence in 
this case. Dean Burgon says that the reading 
adopted by the Eevisers "is not to be found in 
more than two copies of S. Paul's Epistles, is 
not certainly supported by a single Version, and 



is not clearly advocated by a single Father." 
In a word the evidence is overwhelmingly 
against it. Dean Bnrgon, in his truly crushing 
reply to Bishop Ellicott, the chairman of the 
Eevision Committee, has triumphantly vindi- 
cated the authenticity of the Eeceived Text in 
its reading of this vitally important passage. 

From that reply we extract the following : 

"Behold then the provision which the Author of 
Scripture has made for the effectual conservation in 
its integrity of this portion of His Written Word! 
Upwards of 1800 years have run their course since the 
Holy Ghost, by His servant Paul, rehearsed 'the Mys- 
tery of Godliness, ' declaring this to be the great foun- 
dation fact, namely, that 'God was manifest in the 
flesh. ' And lo ! out of 254 copies of St. Paul 's Epistles, 
no less than 252 are discovered to have preserved that 
expression. The copies whereof we speak were pro- 
cured in every part of Christendom, being derived in 
every instance from copies older than themselves; 
which again were transcripts of copies older still. 
They have since found their way, without design or 
contrivance, into the libraries of every country in 
Europe, where they have been jealously guarded." 

Such an agreement between hundreds of wit- 
nesses, remote from one another, establishes 
the true reading beyond the faintest shadow of 
a doubt, particularly in view of the fact that the 
mistake of substituting "who" for *'God" is 
easily accounted for by the resemblance in 



original uncial Mss. between the conventional 
symbol for *'God" and the relative pronoun 
*'who." We submit, as a proper and just con- 
clusion from these facts, that men who, upon 
such a state of the evidence before them, would 
cast out of the Scripture at this vital point, the 
word **God," and replace it by *'he who," have 
thereby demonstrated their unfitness for the 
work of revising the Greek Text of the N. T. 

The Omission of Mark 6 : 11 

The Revisionists have discarded as spurious 
the words of Christ: ''Verily I say unto you it 
shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomor- 
rah in the day of judgment than for that city" 

Referring to this mutilation. Dean Burgon, in 
a letter addressed to the chairman of the Re- 
vision Committee, commented as follows: 

"How serious the consequences have been they 
only know who have been at pains to examine your 
work with close attention. Not only have you on 
countless occasions thrust out words, clauses, and 
entire sentences of genuine Scripture, but you have 
been careful that no trace should survive of the fatal 
injury you have inflicted. I wonder you were not 
afraid. Can I be wrong in deeming such a proceed- 
ing to be in a high degree sinful ? Has not the Spirit 
pronounced a tremendous doom (Rev. 22:19) against 
those who do such things? Were you not afraid for 
instance to leave out (from Mk. 6 :11) those solemn 
words of our Saviour, 'Verily I say unto you, It 



shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in 
the day of judgment than for that city'? Have you 
studied S. Mark's Gospel to so little purpose as not 
to know that the six uncials on which you rely are 
the depositories of an abominably corrupt recension 
of the second Gospel?" 

''Bless Them That Curse You'' (Matt. 5:44) 
In the same letter, referring to the omission 
of Matthew 5 : 44, Dean Bnrgon said : 

''But you have committed a yet more deplorable 
blunder when — without leaving behind you either 
note or comment of any sort — you obliterated from 
S. Matthew 5 :44 the solemn words which I proceed 
to underline : — ^ Bless them that curse you, do good to 
them that hate you, and pray for them which despite- 
fully use you and persecute you.' You relied almost 
exclusively on those two false witnesses, of which 
you are so superstitiously fond. (Vatican and Sinai 
Mss.) regardless of the testimony of almost all the 
other copies besides, of almost all the versions, and 
of a host of primitive fathers, half of whom lived 
and died before our two oldest manuscripts came 
into being." 

"Fathee Foegive Them" 

We have already quoted Dr. Hort^s remark 
concerning the infinitely precious words, "Fa- 
ther forgive them for they know not what they 
do," words so divinely gracious that they are 
self -authenticating, but of which Dr. Hort said 
he could not doubt that they "came from an 
extraneous source." Here is Dean Burgon's 
comment : 



''These twelve precious words Drs. Westcott and 
Hort enclose within double brackets in token of the 
'moral certainty' they entertain that the words are 
spurious; and yet these words are found in every 
known uncial and in every known cursive copy, ex- 
cept four ; besides being found in every ancient ver- 
sion; and what amount (we ask the question with 
sincere simplicity), what amount of evidence is cal- 
culated to inspire undoubted confidence in any 
existing reading, if not such a concurrence of author- 
ities as this?" As to the patristic evidence to this 
passage — "we find our Saviour's prayer attested by 
upwards of forty ancient fathers (of the second to 
the eighth centuries) . . . How could our revisionists 
dare to insinuate doubts into wavering hearts and 
unlearned heads where (as here) they were hound 
to know there exists no manner of doubt at all?" 

**And Am Known op Mine" 

John 10 : 14 reads thus in the A. V., "7 am the 
Good Shepherd, and know My Sheep, and am 
known of Mine." 

For the last clause the R. V. substitutes **and 
Mine own know Me. ' ' In view of the next suc- 
ceeding words, *'As the Father knoweth me 
even so know I the Father," this change de- 
stroys the exquisite diversity of expression of 
the original, which implies that whereas the 
knowledge which subsists between the Father 
and the Son is mutually identical, the knowledge 
the creature has of the Creator is of a very dif- 
ferent sort; and it puts the creature's Imowl- 
edge of the Creator on the same level as the 
Father's knowledge of the Son, and the Son's 



knowledge of the Father. Speaking of this 
regrettable change Dean Burgon says : 

''The refinement in question has been faithfully 
retained all down the ages by every copy in ex- 
istence, except the Vatican and the Sinaitic, and 
two others of equally bad character. Does anyone 
in his sober senses suppose that, if S. John had writ- 
ten 'Mine own know Me,' 996 manuscripts out of a 
thousand at the end of 1800 years would be found 
to exhibit ' I am known of Mine ' ? " 

Dr. Malan sums up in the following words his 
examination of the first chapter of Matthew as 
it appears in the E. V. — ''The Eevisers have 
made 60 changes in that chapter. Of these one 
is good, and one is admissible. All the rest (58) 
appear ill-judged or unnecessary." 

Canon Cook's verdict on the Eevisers' Text 
of the first three Gospels is as follows : 

"It is not too much to say that in nine passages 
out of ten — nay, to go further — in every passage of 
vital importance as regards the integrity of Holy 
Scripture, the veracity of the sacred writers, and 
the records of our Lord's Sayings, nearly all an- 
cient versions, and with very few exceptions, all 
ancient fathers, support the readings rejected by 
the Revisers." 

Sir Edmund Beckett (in his work already 
quoted) has this to say about the ''critical 
maxims" the Eevisers are supposed to have 
followed in reaching their results: 



"It would take a great many critical maxims to 
convince me that the apostles wrote what can only 
be fairly translated into nonsense ; which they some- 
times did, if the Revisers' new readings are all right ; 
and moreover their adoption of them makes one sus- 
picious about many other readings which cannot be 
brought under that test." 

Many other examples might be given of 
changes in the Greek Text made in deference to 
the two ancient Codices (Vaticamis and Sinai- 
ticus) and against the overwhelmingly prepon- 
derating testimony of Greek Mss. Versions and 
Fathers, changes which inflict manifest injury 
upon the Holy Scriptures ; but the foregoing are 
amply sufficient to warrant the conclusion that 
the ''New Greek Text" underlying the E. V. 
(which is virtually that of Westcott and Hort) 
is vastly inferior to that of the A. V., and spe- 
cifically that the witnesses whose testimony con- 
trolled in the construction of the former are 
utterly untrustworthy. 


Chapter VIII 

Changes in Translation 

HAVING considered those departures of 
the E. V. from the A. V. that are due to 
the use of a different Greek Text, we 
come now to changes of another sort, namely, 
changes of words and sentences where there 
was no change in the corresponding part of the 
Greek Text. In speaking of this class of 
changes we do not fail to recognize, what is 
admitted by all competent authorities, that the 
A. V. could be corrected in a number of pas- 
sages where the meaning is now obscured be- 
cause of changes which three centuries have 
brought about in the meaning of English words, 
or where diligent study or recent discoveries 
have brought to light better readings. Such 
instances, however, are comparatively few, 
whereas the R. V. gives us about 36,000 de- 
partures, small and great, from the A. V. What 
shall we say of such a host of changes? Sir 
Edmund Beckett writes about it as follows : 

''The two principal complaints of the work of the 
Revisers made by nearly every review, and by some 
of their own members (who protested in vain) are 
of the enormous number of alterations which con- 
vict themselves of being unnecessary; and the still 



more serious one that they have hardly changed a 
sentence without spoiling its English, sometimes by the 
smallest touch or transposition of a word, and still 
more by the larger alterations. 

"The condemnation of a great deal of the Re- 
visers' work, in real fidelity of translation, as well 
as in style, by such a scholar as the Bishop of Lincoln 
has been from his youth, is a blow from which they 
will not easily recover. . . . Another dignitary and 
scholar of eminence has publicly declared that he 
dissented from one-third (which is 12,000) of the al- 
terations the more ambitious majority persisted in; 
and it is generally understood that another Dean re- 
signed for the same reason in despair." 

In a great many instances changes were made 
in the tenses of verbs, upon the theory advo- 
cated by Drs. Westcott and Hort, that the 
proper rendering of the Greek aorist demanded 
such changes. But this has since that time been 
seriously called into question. Indeed a writer 
in the London Times for January 17, 1920, re- 
marks that "Some years ago Bishop "Westcott 's 
son told the readers of The Times that the view 
taken by the Eevisers of the proper meaning of 
the Greek aorist, which led to so many altera- 
tions, was now known to be mistaken. ' ' 

One need not be a Greek scholar in order to 
form an opinion of his own regarding the many 
changes of words and phrases which the Ee- 
visers have made in cases where there was no 
thought of changing the meaning. Such changes 
appear upon a mere comparison of the two Ver- 



sions ; and if one has become at all used to the 
unapproachable style of the A. V. his ear must 
needs suffer continual offence and annoyance 
as he listens to the rendering of familiar pas- 
sages in the R. V. 

Speaking to this point Dean Burgon (in his 
Revision Revised) says : 

"The English, as well as the Greek, of the newly 
Revised Version, is hopelessly at fault. It is to me 
simply unintelligible how a company of scholars 
can have spent ten years in elaborating such a very 
unsatisfactory production. Their uncouth phrase- 
ology and their jerky sentences, their pedantic ob- 
scurity and unidiomatic English, contrast painfully 
with the happy turns of expression, the music of 
the cadences, the felicities of the rhythm of our 
Authorized Version. ... It is, however, the sys- 
tematic depravation of the underlying Greek which 
does so grievously offend me. For this is nothing 
else but a poisoning of the River of Life at its 
Sacred Source. Our Revisers stand convicted of 
having deliberately rejected the words of Inspira- 
tion in every page, and of having substituted for 
them fabricated readings which the church has long 
since refused to acknowledge, or else has rejected, 
with abhorrence, readings which survive at this time 
only in a little handful of documents of the most 
depraved type." 

Dr. Alexander Carson (Inspiration of the 
Scriptures, p. 198) has well said: 

"There is no greater mistake than to suppose that 
a translation is good according as it is literal. It 



may be asserted that, without exception, a literal 
translation of any book cannot be a faithful one. For 
if the word is not used in its literal sense in the 
original it is a mistranslation of it to translate it 
literally. This is a canon of Biblical Interpretation 
of universal application, and of the greatest moment 
— a canon not only often violated, but to violate 
which is, in the estimation of some translators, the 
highest praise. A translation of this kind, instead 
of conveying the original with additional light, is 
simply unintelligible. ' ' 

Such being the case (and we think the truth 
of Dr. Carson's statement is self-evident) it 
will be clearly seen that the making of a real 
translation is not merely a matter of giving the 
literal meaning of the words of the original; 
and further that, in order to be a good trans- 
lator, one needs other qualifications besides a 
knowledge of the original tongue. So, as be- 
tween the two rival Versions, much depends 
upon- the question whether the translators of 
1881 were as well qualified for their work as 
those of 1611, As a help in the decision of this 
question we give, in this chapter, a few com- 
parisons where changes have been made. We 
believe, however, that merely upon viewing 
broadly the two Versions most readers will 
recognize the great superiority of the Old Ver- 
sion. That work has commended itself to the 
acknowledged masters of the English tongue, 
as well as to the millions of ordinary readers, 
for more than three centuries, and it has occu- 



pied in the world a place unapproaclied by any 
other book in any language. And although we 
know it is only a translation, and although we 
know also that (as Joseph Parker said) **a 
translation may have its faults, and copyists 
may make blunders, yet we still call it the Holy 
Bible," and it is to us, as it has been to ten gen- 
erations past, in truth and reality, the Living 
Word of the Living God. Such being the state 
of the case our wisdom is to hold on to the Old 
Version, and to every part of it, except in spe- 
cific cases (and they are but few) where it can 
be shown by clear proof that a change is needed. 

Examples of Changes in Tbanslation 

In taking notice of a few of the thousands of 
new readings introduced by the Revisers, it 
should be remembered that, according to the 
instructions under which they acted, they were 
not to make "any new translation of the Bible, 
nor any alteration of the language, except 
where, in the judgment of the most competent 
scholars, such change is necessary/' and fur- 
ther they were instructed that **in such neces- 
sary changes, the style of the language em- 
ployed in the existing Version be closely fol- 
lowed." Can any "competent" scholar tell us 
that even a sizable fraction of the host of 
changes now embodied in the R. V. were "neces- 
sary"? And will anyone pretend that, in the 
changes which have been introduced, the style 



of the existing Version has been "closely fol- 

We have already pointed out that, in the first 
chapter of Matthew alone, the Eevisers have 
made sixty changes, of which, according to a 
competent authority (Dr. Malan) fifty-eight 
were ''either ill judged or unnecessary." 

Going on to Matthew 4 : 12, we find that the 
words ''John was cast into prison" are changed 
to ' ' was delivered up. ' ' It may be claimed that 
the latter is a more literal rendering; but it is 
not an improved translation ; for the best trans- 
lation is that which best gives the sense of the 
original, and "delivered up" has no definite 
meaning for the English reader. 

In Luke 8 : 45, 46 the E. V. has introduced no 
less than nineteen changes into 34 words; and 
in 2 Peter 1 : 5-7 thirty changes have been made 
in a passage containing only ^S words. These 
are extreme examples of the extraordinary pro- 
pensity of the Eevisers for making uncalled for 
changes. Concerning the former of these two 
passages Dean Burgon writes : 

"I challenge any competent scholar in Great 
Britain to say whether every one of these changes 
be not absolutely useless, or else decidedly a change 
for the worse; six of them being downright errors." 

His comment on the other passage is : 

"To ourselves it appears that every one of these 
changes is a change for the worse, and that one of 



the most exquisite passages in the N. T. has been 
hopelessly spoiled — rendered in fact well-nigh un- 
intelligible — by the pedantic ofl&ciousness of the Re- 

Paul Befoeb King Ageippa 
In Acts 26 : 24 the words of Pestus to Paul, 
"much learning hath made thee mad," are 
changed in the R. V. to **thy much learning doth 
turn thee to madness." Concerning this novel 
and uncouth expression Sir E. Beckett says : 

"We have heard of men being naturally inclined 
to madness, or being driven to madness by despair, 
and of being turned mad; and of wisdom being 
turned to madness ; but never before have we heard 
of a man being turned to madness. It is idle to say 
the Greek required it; for the literal sense would 
be nonsense ; and they have not given even the lit- 
eral sense. What they have given us is a transla- 
tion neither literal, nor sensible, nor idiomatic, nor 
harmonious, nor anything but an absurd and ca- 
cophonous piece of pedantry for nothing." 


Of all the changes introduced into the Text of 
the R. v., that which has raised the greatest 
storm of protest is the alteration of the words, 
''All Scripture is given hy inspiration of God, 
and is profitable," so as to make the passage 
read, "Every Scripture given hy inspiration of 
God is profitable." This apparently slight 
change gives a very different turn to the sense 
of the verse; for it suggests that there are 



** Scriptures " which are not given by inspira- 
tion of God. Inasmuch as it has been often 
pointed out by competent scholars that there is 
no warrant whatever for this alteration, we do 
not dwell upon it. 

The Testimony of the Veesion of 1911 

As to the merits (or demerits) of the myriads 
of changes of translation brought in by the Ee- 
visers of 1881, we would call attention (as well 
worthy of consideration) to the judgment of the 
Committee of 34 Hebrew and Grreek scholars 
who prepared the Tercentenary Edition of the 
Bible. The duty committed to them was to 
make — 

* 'A careful scrutiny of the Text, with the view 
of correcting, in the light of the best modern 
research, such passages as are recognized by all 
scholars as in any measure misleading or need- 
lessly obscure." And this as we understand it, 
is substantially what the Eevisers of 1881 were 
instructed and expected to do. 

The result of this scrutiny of the entire Text 
of the English Bible by the Committee of 1911 
was that they repudiated over 98 percent of the 
changes introduced by the Revisers of 1881. 
That is to say, they accepted less than two out 
of every hundred of the changes brought in by 
the Revisers. 



From the Preface to the 1911 Tercentenary 
Edition of the Bible (issued by the Oxford 
Press) we quote the following: 

''The continued confidence of the Church Univer- 
sal throughout English-speaking lands in the Au- 
thorized Version is seasoned and mature. Despite 
a limited number of passages in which the Revisers 
of 1611 seem to have missed the true meaning, and 
of a number of other passages which have, through 
changed usage, become obscure, the A. V. is still 
the English Bible." 

So it is, and so it is likely to be to the end. 

This Tercentenary Commemoration Edition 
of 1911 may properly be regarded as the care- 
fully deliberated verdict of a representative 
company of scholars, chosen with special refer- 
ence to their knowledge of Biblical Hebrew and 
Greek and of all matters pertaining to the Text 
of the Holy Scriptures, a verdict reached after 
a comparative trial of the two Versions (A. V. 
and E. V.) side by side, for a period of thirty 
years. Their verdict was, in our opinion, fully 
warranted by the facts; and the passage of 
years since it was rendered has but served 
further to establish it. 


Chaptee IX 

The Use Made of the Margin in 
the R. V. 

IN THE preparation of the Authorized Ver- 
sion the useful expedient was adopted of 
putting in the margin of the page an alter- 
native reading, in the few and comparatively 
unimportant passages which seemed to admit 
thereof. Also in the margin was given the 
translation of proper names appearing in the 
Text, and occasional items of information cal- 
culated to be a help to a better understanding of 
the Scripture. 

Such was the precedent the Eevisers had 
before them for their guidance. Furthermore, 
a rule adopted by the Committee required that 
wherever a change was made in the Greek Text 
that change should he noted in the margi/n. 
Nevertheless, in the preparation of the New 
Version the Committee departed wholly from 
the A. V. and also completely ignored the rule 
referred to. 

Dean Burgon is authority for the statement 
that "use has been made of the margin to insin- 
uate suspicion and distrust in countless particu- 
lars as to the authenticity of the text which has 



been suffered to remain unaltered" (Preface to 
''Revision Revised"). 

Again, in the same volume ("Revision Re- 
vised") he says: 

"The Revisionists have not corrected the 'Known 
Textual Errors.' On the other hand, besides silently 
adopting most of those wretched fabrications which 
are just now in favor with the German school, they 
have encumbered their margin with those other 
readings which, after due examination, they had 
themselves deliberately rejected. . . . What else must 
be the result of all this, but general uncertainty, con- 
fusion, and distress ! A hazy mistrust of all Scripture 
has been insinuated into the hearts and minds of 
multitudes who, for this cause, have been forced to 
become doubters; yes, doubters in the truth of 
Revelation itself. 

"How was it to have been believed that the Re- 
visionists would show themselves industrious in sow- 
ing broadcast over four continents doubts as to the 
truth of Scripture, doubts which it will never be in 
their power to remove or recall? 

* * And here we must renew our protest against the 
wrong which has been done to English readers by 
the Revisionists' disregard of the IVth rule laid 
down for their guidance, viz., that whenever they 
adopted a new textual reading such reading was to 
be 'indicated in the margin.' " 

And he addresses the Revisionists this ques- 
tion regarding their failure in duty to the Eng- 
lish reader : 

"How comes it to pass that you have never fur- 
nished him the information you stood pledged to fur- 



nish, but have, instead, volunteered on every page in- 
formation, worthless in itself, which can only serve 
to unsettle the faith of unlettered millions, and to sug- 
gest unreasonable as well as miserable doubts to the 
minds of all ? " 

Examples op Vagabies in Maeginal Notes 

The Name "Jesus" 

Matthew 1: 18 in the A. V. reads: **Now the 
birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise." The 
R. V. marginal note says, ^'Some ancient 
authorities read 'of the Christ' " — that is to 
say, they omit the Name Jesus. But Dean 
Burgon says: 

*'Now what are the facts? Not one single known 
manuscript omits the word Jesus; while its presence 
is vouched for by the fathers Tatian, Irenaeus, Origen, 
Eusebius, Epiphanius, Chrysostom, Cyril, in addition 
to every known Greek copy of the Gospels, and not a 
few of the versions." 

"Thine is the Kingdom'^ 

In Matthew 6 : 13 the Revisers have rejected 
the important clause: ''For Thine is the king- 
dom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen"; 
and in the margin they have put this: "Many 
authorities, some ancient but with variations, 
add, 'For Thine is' "—etc. Concerning this 
radical alteration of the Text, and concerning 
the marginal note thereon, Dean Burgon has 
this to say: 



"All the manuscripts in the world" — over 500, re- 
member — ''hut nine contain these words. Is it in any 
way credible that, in a matter like this, they should 
all have become corrupted? No hypothesis is needed 
to account for this, another instance of omission in 
copies which exhibit a mutilated text on every page. ' ' 

''The Son of God" 

In the Gospel of Mark the first marginal note 
relates to the supremely important words of 
verse 1, ''the Son of Grod." The note says: 
*'Some ancient authorities omit 'the Son of 
God.' " But the fact is (according to Dean B.) 
that ''the words are found in every known copy 
hut three, in all the Versions, and in many 
fathers. The evidence in favor of the clause is 
therefore overwhelming. '* What can have been 
the object of the Revisers in raising suspicion 
regarding a verse of supreme importance, as to 
the authenticity of which the proofs leave no 
room for any douht whatever? 

"Where Their Worm Dieth Not'' 

Concerning Mark 9 : 44-48 and other passages. 
Dean Burgon, in his "Revision Revised," says: 

* ' Not only has a fringe of most unreasonable textual 
mistrust been tacked on to the margin of every in- 
spired page (as from Luke 10:41-11;11) ; not only 
has many a grand doctrinal statement been evacuated 
of its authority (as by the shameful mis-statement 
found in the margin against John 3 :13, affecting the 
important words which is in heaven, and the vile 



Socinian gloss which disfigures the margin of Romans 
9:5 — {Christ, Who is over all, God blessed forever) ; 
but we entirely miss many a solemn utterance of the 
Spirit, as when we are assured that verses 44 and 46 
of Mark 9 are omitted by 'the iest ancient authori- 
ties/ whereas, on the contrary, the manuscripts re- 
ferred to are the worst/' 

''Which is in Heaven" 

And concerning the note on John 3 : 13, re- 
ferred to in the foregoing quotation — "Many 
ancient authorities omit ^ which is in heaven/ " 
Dean Burgon asks with indignation : 

"Why are we not rather assured that the precious 
clause in question is found in every manuscript in the 
world, except five of bad character ? — is recognized by 
all the Latin and all the Syrian Versions; is either 
quoted or insisted on by a host of Fathers ; in short 
is quite above suspicion? Why are we not told that? 
Those ten Versions, those 38 Fathers, that host of 
copies in proportion of 995 to 5 — why, concerning all 
these, is there not so much as a hint let fall that such 
a mass of counter evidence exists ? ' ' 

Surely such a suppression of the facts and 
misrepresentation of the truth in regard to a 
supremely important passage touching the 
Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, is deserving of 
the strongest reprobation. 

"The Number of a Man" 

In Eev, 13:18, opposite the words "and his 
number is six hundred and sixty and six," the 



Revisers have put a note which says, "Some 
ancient authorities read six hundred and six- 
teen." As to this Dean Burgon asks: 

"Why are we not informed that only one corrupt 
uncial, only one cursive, only one Father, and not one 
ancient Version, advocates this reading? which on 
the contrary, Irenaeus (170 A. D.) knew lut rejected, 
remarking that '666\ which is 'found in all the best 
and oldest copies, and is attested by men who saw 
John face to face,' is unquestionably the true read- 

The Island of Melita 

Finally, from Dean Burgon 's list of useless 
marginal glosses introduced by the Revisers, we 
take the following as fairly typical : 

Acts 28:1. "For what conceivable reason is the 
world now informed that, instead of Melita, 'some 
ancient authorities read Militene'? Is every pitiful 
blunder of the Codex Vaticanus to live on in the mar- 
gin of every Englishman's copy of the New Testament 
forever?" And after showing that all other Mss. 
and all Latin Versions and all "Fathers" who quote 
the passage, also the coins, and the ancient geograph- 
ers, all read Melita, he says that this reading "has 
also been acquiesced in by every critical editor of the 
N. T. (excepting always Drs. Westcott and Hort) 
from the invention of printing until now. But, be- 
cause those two misguided men, without apology, ex- 
planation, note or comment of any kind, have adopted 
Militene into their Text, is the Church of England to 
be dragged through the mire also, and made ridiculous 
in the eyes of Christendom?" 


Chapter X 

The Theory of Westcott and Hort Upon 

Which "The New Greek Text" 

Was Constructed 

Bishop Ellicott's Defence of the R. V. — The 
Conclusion op the Matter 

WE FEEL that this little volume, so un- 
compromisingly condemnatory as it is 
of the Version of 1881, and particnlarly 
of the Greek Text whereon that Version is 
based, should not go forth without at least a 
brief description of the theory upon which Drs. 
Westcott and Hort constructed their "New 
Text." That theory is set forth by themselves 
in their long and elaborate "Introduction to the 
New Testament," which was published simul- 
taneously with the R. V. in 1881 ; and we need 
hardly say that, to themselves at least, and 
doubtless to others besides, there appeared to 
be good and sufficient reasons for the conclu- 
sions reached by them. But to us it seems that 
their conclusions are based wholly upon infer- 
ences and conjectures, and not only so, but they 
are directly contrary to all the known and per- 
tinent facts. 



Our suspicions are aroused to begin with, by 
the circumstance that Drs. Westcott and Hort 
have arrived at their conclusions by the exer- 
cise of that mysterious faculty of ** critical intu- 
ition," wherewith the ''higher critics" of mod- 
ern times claim to be endowed, but of the nature 
and workings of which they can give no explan- 
ation whatever. We refer to the faculty 
whereby certain scholars of the German School 
of higher criticism claim ability to discern that 
various books of the Bible — as Genesis, Isaiah, 
and even the Gospels — are of composite charac- 
ter, the work of various authors and editors, 
who (they tell us) welded together several inde- 
pendent documents (whereof all trace has dis- 
appeared, and for the existence of which, or of 
any one of them, there is not a scintilla of 
proof). The same marvelous and mysterious 
faculty of ''critical intuition" enables the pos- 
sessors thereof (so they assure us) to resolve 
these (supposedly) composite documents into 
their original constituent elements, and even to 
assign to each of these "originals" the approxi- 
mate date when it was first composed. 

In like manner Drs. Westcott and Hort set 
forth, at prodigious length, what they are 
pleased to denominate their theory of ' ' Confla- 
tion." Indeed that blessed word — probably 
new to nearly all of our readers — is made to 
carry most of the dead weight of their theory, 
which theory certainly has the attribute of nov- 



elty, whatever else it may lack. But we hasten 
to explain that while Drs. Westcott and Hort 
admit that our Textus Receptus, in practically 
the form in which we now Have it, existed in and 
previous to the fourth century, and that it was 
** dominant" in Syria and elsewhere, they tell 
us that it is (and was) a "conflation," that is to 
say a composite Text, formed by the Mowing to- 
gether (which is what the word "conflate" 
means) of two previously existing Texts. Do 
they offer any proof of this? None whatever. 
They simply discerned it by means of the mys- 
terious faculty of critical intuition. But how 
do we know that they possess this ability, and 
have used it correctly in this case? We have 
their own word for it — nothing more. 

But inasmuch as the method whereby the 
modern school of "higher criticism," which 
originated in the last century in Germany, 
reaches its * ' results ' ' is doubtless quite new to 
most of our readers, we owe it to them to make 
our explanation of the Westcott and Hort 
theory, which bears a close family resemblance 
to that now famous method, as plain and simple 
as possible; "and this will we do, if God per- 

Thus far we have only the word of two 
scholars for it, (1) that they have discerned 
that the Eeceived Text was formed by the "con- 
flation," or fusing together, sometime previous 
to the 4th century, of two primitive Texts of 



Scripture; and (2) that they (the aforesaid 
scholars) have been able (how, they do not 
explain, and presumably we should be unable 
to understand the process if they did) to resolve 
this composite Text into its original constituent 
elements. But this is only the first step in the 
procedure, which brings us at last to the con- 
clusion that the Text of Westcott and Hort of 
1870-1881 is the true Text of the original Scrip- 
ture, and therefore should be adopted in the 
place of the Eeceived Text. 

The only thing they set forth as a warrant 
for this first step of the process is that, after a 
careful scrutiny of the entire Eeceived Text, 
they find seven passages — some of them short 
phrases or single words — ^which look to them as 
if they might have been formed by the welding 
together of several originally diverse readings. 
Other scholars find nothing in these passages to 
indicate ** conflation " ; but, if there were the 
clearest evidences thereof in those seven scat- 
tered passages, what proof would that afford 
that the entire Text was a conflation of two 
distinct pre-existing Texts'? None whatever. 
Therefore, the Westcott and Hort * 'theory*' (if 
it were proper to designate it by that term) 
breaks down completely at the initial stage. 

But we proceed to trace the process^which 
is interesting at least as an intellectual curiosity 
— through its successive stages. 



Having assumed the existence of two distinct 
primitive Texts, earlier than what they are 
pleased to call the ''dominant Antiochian Text" 
(which corresponds to onr Received Text), they 
give them the names ''Western" and "Neu- 
tral," respectively. Now, inasmuch as these 
"primitive Texts" are wholly the creatures of 
their scholarly imagination, they have the in- 
disputable right to bestow upon them whatever 
names they please. But we must ever keep in 
mind that there is not a shadow of proof that 
these "primitive Texts," or either of them, ever 
existed. What is, however, overwhelmingly 
established, and is admitted by Drs. Westcott 
and Hort, is that a Text, practically identical 
with our Received Text, existed, and was ''dom- 
inant" in Antioch and elsewhere, in and before 
the 4th century. 

The next in the string of pure conjectures and 
bold assumptions whereby Dr. Hort (for the 
theory appears to be his personal contribution 
to the joint enterprise) arrives at his conclu- 
sion, is that, of the two supposed primitive 
Texts, the "Neutral" was the purer Text, and 
the ' ' Western ' ' the corrupted Text. The specu- 
lation is now getting far out of reach. For how 
can we have even a conjectural opinion as to 
which of two supposed Texts was the purer, 
when neither of them is known to have existed 
at all? Surely Dean Burgon is amply justified 
in saying that the entire speculation is "an ex- 



cursion into cloud-land; a dream, and nothing 

But we have not yet reached the end of the 
matter. For what avails it to know that the 
supposed "Neutral Text" existed in the 4th 
century, and that it was a correct representation 
of the original inspired Writings, if that ** Neu- 
tral Text" no longer exists? But Dr. Hort is 
equal to the difficulty ; for he completes the long 
chain of guesswork by declaring that Codex B 
(Vaticanus) is a representative of the supposed 
'* Neutral" Text. Is there anything in the na- 
ture of proof offered in support of this radical 
assertion! Nothing whatever. And how could 
there be! For until we have proof that the 
(wholly imaginary) "Neutral Text" had an 
actual existence, and that it existed before the 
Received (or so-called "Syrian") Text came 
into being, how can we even consider the ques- 
tion whether or not the Vatican Codex is a sur- 
vivor of that * ' Neutral Text " ! Dean Burgon is 
not amiss when he characterizes the whole 
theory as "mere moonshine." Indeed, it seems 
to us to be either a case of solemn trifling with 
a matter of supreme importance, or a deliber- 
ate attempt to lead astray the English-speaking 
nations, and through them the whole world, and 
that without the support of a scintilla of real 
proof, but rather in the face of all the pertinent 
facts. As Dean Burgon, in his exhaustive anal- 
ysis of Dr. Hort 's theory, says : 



"Bold assertions abound (as iisiial with this re- 
peeted writer) but proof, he never attempts any. Not 
a particle of 'evidence' is adduced." 

And again: 

''But we demur to this weak imagination (which 
only by courtesy can be called a 'theory') on 
every ground, and are constrained to remonstrate with 
our would-be guides at every step. They assume 
everything. They prove nothing. And the facts of 
the case lend them no favor at all." 

Truly, that with which we are here dealing is 
not a theory, but a dream; a thing composed 
entirely of gratuitous assumptions, ** destitute 
not only of proof, but even of probability." 

Such is the clever device, the bit of intellec- 
tual legerdemain, whereby a group of scholars 
were persuaded to accept a single Ms. of the 
4th century (for Dr. Hort rests practically 
his entire case upon the Codex Vaticanus) as 
being proof of an imaginary Text, supposedly 
more ancient than that which is acknowledged 
as ''dominant" over wide areas long before that 
copy ivas made. 

The following by Dean Burgon is worthy of 
particular notice : 

"The one great Fact which especially troubles him 
(Dr. H.) and his joint editor (as well it may) is the 
Traditional Greek Text of the New Testament Scrip- 
tures. Call this text Erasmian or Complutesian, the 
text of Stephens, or of Beza, or of the Elzevirs, call it 



the Received or the Traditional, or by whatever other 
name you please — the fact remains that a text has come 
down to us which is attested hy a general consensus 
of ancient Copies, ancient Fathers, and ancient Ver- 
sions. . . . Obtained from a variety of sources, this 
Text proves to be essentially the same in all. That it 
requires revision in respect of many of its lesser de- 
tails is undeniable; but it is at least as certain that 
it is an excellent Text as it stands, and that the use 
of it will never lead critical students of the Scriptures 
seriously astray. In marked contrast with this (re- 
ceived) Text (which is identical with the Text of 
every extant Lectionary of the Greek Church) is that 
contained in a little handful of documents of which 
the most famous are the Codices Vaticanus and Sinai- 

The editors of the E. V. have systematically 
magnified the merits of those viciously corrupt 
manuscripts, while they have, at the same time, 
sedulously ignored their many glaring and 
scandalous defects and blemishes, manifestly 
determined, by right or by wrong, to establish 
their paramount authority, when it is in any way 
possible to do so. And when that is clearly im- 
possible, then their purpose apparently is "to 
treat their errors as the ancient Egyptians 
treated their cats, dogs, monkeys, beetles, and 
other vermin, namely, to embalm them, and pay 
them divine honors. Such, for the last fifty 
years, has been the practice of the dominant 
school of textual criticism among ourselves." 



Bisiaop Ellicott in Defence 

But what have the Revisers themselves to say 
to all this 1 And how do they attempt to justify 
their conclusions and the methods whereby 
those conclusions were reached? Our readers 
will doubtless be asking these questions ; and we 
are able to answer them in the most authorita- 
tive way, for the chairman of the Revision Com- 
mittee, Bishop Ellicott, has himself put forth 
two replies to the criticisms of the B. V. pub- 
lished by Dean Burgon and others. One of 
Bishop Ellicott 's papers appeared in 1882. The 
other was a matured defence, in the form of a 
book, "The Revised Version of Holy Scrip- 
ture," published in 1901, just twenty years 
after the first edition of the R. V. 

An examination of what Bishop Ellicott has 
thus put forth in defence of the work of his 
Committee tends to confirm, rather than to 
weaken, the objections we have herein advanced. 
Thus, in respect to the matter which we esteem 
of chief importance, that is to say, the adoption 
by the Committee of a **N"ew Greek Text," 
which follows closely that of Westcott and Hort, 
Bishop Ellicott rests his case entirely upon the 
opinions of Lachmann, Tischendorf, and Tre- 
gelles, assuming their favorite principle of 
''ancient witnesses only" to be sound, and mak- 
ing no attempt whatever to meet the facts and 
arguments to the contrary, as urged by Scriv- 



ener, Burgon, Cook, Beckett, Salmon, Malan, 
and others. Now the matter in dispute is pre- 
cisely this, whether the guiding principle of 
Lachmann and his two successors, which had its 
spring in the school of German criticism, just 
then starting on its devastating career, is a 
sound and safe principle to follow? Bishop 
EUicott, in both his published defences, studi- 
ously avoids this issue. When, therefore, we 
consider the tremendous attack made upon that 
critical principle by scholars of the first rank, 
and that Bishop EUicott, in attempting to an- 
swer them, ignored that part of the case alto- 
gether, we are quite warranted in drawing the 
conclusion that the objections urged against 
that principle are unanswerable. 

But more than that. Bishop EUicott himself 
had urged in print the very same objections 
against the method of Lachmann and his mod- 
ern school of textual criticism. For, in his 
work ''On Ee vision" etc. (1870), the learned 
Bishop had declared that Lachmann 's was '*a 
Text composed on the narrowest and most exclu- 
sive principles;" that it was ** really based on 
little more than four manuscripts." Moreover, 
concerning Tischendorf he had said: **The case 
of Tischendorf is still more easily disposed of. 
Which of this most inconstant critic's Texts are 
we to select? Surely not the last, in which an 
exaggerated preference for a single manuscript 
has betrayed him into an almost childlike in- 



firmity of judgment." Tregelles also lie liad 
condemned in terms equally uncompromising. 
Yet, when the defence of the R. V. depended 
upon it, this learned scholar, who was — more 
than any other individual — responsible for the 
form finally given to it, can do no other or better 
than to appeal to the opinion of the very same 
modern and radical editors whose work he had 
himself previously declared to be unworthy of 

At the time Bishop EUicott's defence of 1882 
was prepared, Westcott and Hort had just pub- 
lished their ''New Greek Text," and the sup- 
porting "theory;" and so Bishop Ellicott 
sought to avail himself thereof, and did so by 
the plea that those who objected to the R. V. 
ought to meet that theory. He did not have to 
wait long; for Dean Burgon's smashing attack, 
strongly supported by the ablest textual critic 
of the day (Dr. Scrivener) and others, appeared 
about the same time. To all this Bishop Elli- 
cott made no response (so far as we are aware) 
until in 1901 he published the book named above. 

Turning to that volume we find that again he 
ignores entirely the main issue. Moreover, we 
find that now, instead of endorsing Dr. Hort, 
upon whom he leaned so hard in 1882, and by 
whom the whole Revision Committee was led 
astray, he virtually throws him overboard. For 
he cites a work of Dr. Salmon, of Trinity Col- 
lege, Dublin (1897), in which (to quote the 



Bishop's own words) "the ^difficulties and 
anomalies and apparent perversities in the text 
of Westcott and Hort are compared with the 
decisions of the Revisers ;" and he finds himself 
unahle, as he admits, to "resist the conviction 
that Dr. Salmon, in his interesting Criticism of 
the Text of the New Testament, has successfully 
indicated three or more particulars which must 
cause some arrest in our final judgment on the 
Text of Westcott and Hort." 

The three particulars which Bishop EUicott 
points out, which are exceedingly important, are 
these (we quote the Bishop's own words) : 

"In the first place it cannot be denied that, in the 
introductory volume, Dr. Hort has shown too distinct 
a tendency to elevate probable hypotheses into the 
realm of established facts," — ^wMch is just another 
way of saying that Dr. Hort depended npon guess- 
work, as Dean Burgon had pointed out in 1883. 

"In the second place, in the really important mat- 
ter of the nomenclature of the ancient types of Text 
... it does not seem possible to accept the titles of 
the four fold division of these families of manuscripts 
which has been adopted by Westcott and Hort. . . . 
The objections to this arrangement and to this nomen- 
clature are, as Dr. Salmon very clearly shows, both 
reasonable and serious." So saying Bishop EUicott 
throws overboard what (as we have shown above) is 
vital to Dr. Hort's theory. 

"The third drawback to the unqualified acceptance 
of the Text of Westcott and Hort is their continuous 
and studied disregard of Western authorities. ... To 
this grave drawback Dr. Salmon has devoted a chap- 



ter to which th^e' attention of the student may very 
profitably be directed. I am persuaded that, if there 
should be any fresh discovery of textual authorities, 
it is by no means unlikely that they may be of a 
'Western' character, and if so, that many decisions 
in the Text of Westcott and Hort will have to be 
modified by some editor of the future. At any rate, 
taking the critical evidence as we now find it, we can- 
not but feel that Dr. Salmon has made out his case." 

These admissions are creditable to the hon- 
esty and candor of the one who made them ; but 
as regards their bearing upon the subject of our 
present inquiry, it seems clear that, considering 
how greatly to the interest of the Bishop and 
his cause it was to uphold the critical theories 
of Dr. Hort, and to maintain his authority as 
an editor, those admissions afford very strong 
reason indeed for the belief that Dean Burgon's 
drastic criticism of the Westcott and Hort Text, 
and of their ** theory" as well, was fully war- 

Bishop EUicott advances the feeble plea, in 
extenuation of the undue influence which Dr. 
Hort exerted over the Eevision Committee, that 
in only 64 passages did they accept the readings 
of Westcott and Hort where they had not "also 
the support of Lachmann, or Tischendorf, or 
Tregelles." This shows, upon the confession 
of the chairman of the Revision Committee, just 
what support can be claimed for the **New 
Greek Text." Hereby we are informed that it 



rests sometimes on Westcott and Hort alone, 
but that it usually has the support of at least 
one of the three modern editors, each of whom 
has staked his all upon the viciously unsound 
principle of following exclusively the two de- 
praved 4th Century Codices. Now, since we 
have Bishop EUicott 's own admission that these 
modern editors, each and all, are unreliable, it 
is not too much to say that the attempt to defend 
the R. V. has utterly collapsed, and that the 
objections of Dean Burgon and others remain 
indeed ''unanswered and unanswerable." 


In comparing the two Versions in respect to 
their literary merits, the Bishop of Lincoln, in a 
conference address, said : 

"To pass from one to the other is, as it were, to 
alight from a well-built and well-hung carriage, which 
glides easily over a macadamized road, and to get 
into one which has bad springs or none at all, and in 
which you are jolted in ruts with aching bones, and 
over the stones of a newly mended and rarely 
traversed road." 

And Dean Burgon has this to say : 

"The A. V. should have been jealously retained 
wherever it was possible; but on the contrary every 
familiar cadence has been dislocated; the congenial 
flow of almost every verse of Scripture has been al- 
most hopelessly marred. So many of those little con- 



necting words, which give life and continuity to a 
narrative, have been vexatiously displaced, so that a 
perpetual sense of annoyance is created. The count- 
less minute alterations, which have been needlessly 
introduced into every familiar page, prove at last as 
tormenting as a swarm of flies to a weary traveller on 
a summer's day. To speak plainly, the book has been 
made unreadable." 

And Bishop Wordsworth expresses himself 

"I fear we must say in candor that in the Revised 
Version we meet in every page with small changes 
which are vexatious, teasing, and irritating, even the 
more so because they are small; which seem almost 
to be made for the sake of change." 

And this is the view not of Bible scholars 
only. A writer in a recent number of a popular 
household magazine expresses, in the words 
that follow, what is undoubtedly the view of a 
great host of Bible readers. Speaking of one of 
the Modern Speech Versions she said : 

"The one thing concerning it to which I object is 
that the sonorous sweep and beauty of the Bible are 
eliminated in an effort to be more literal in transla- 
tion. So ingrained in my mentality is the King James 
Version that any word of change in it hits me like 
a blow." 


What shall we then say to these things ? Shall 
we accept the E. V. (either the English or Amer- 



ican) as a substitute for the A. V.? That ques- 
tion,, we take it, has been settled by the almost 
unanimous rejection of the modern Versions. 
But can we profitably avail ourselves of the 
E. V. for any purpose? The conclusion to 
which the facts constrain the writer of these 
pages is that — conceding that there are im- 
provements (and perhaps many) in the E. V., — 
nevertheless — the Greek Text upon which it is 
based is so corrupt, that it is not safe to accept 
any reading which differs from that of the A. V. 
until the reader has ascertained that the change 
in question is supported by preponderating tes- 

Furthermore, in the important matter of 
the work of Translation we believe it to be the 
consensus of the best opinion that, in this fea- 
ture also, the Authorized Version is vastly su- 
perior to that of 1881. 

And finally, as regards style and composition, 
the advantage is so greatly with the Old Version 
that it would be little short of a calamity were 
it to be supplanted by the E. V. 

The Vox Popun 

We say that the question whether or not the 
E. V. should supplant the A. V. has been set- 
tled by the people themselves who, for whatever 
reason or reasons, and whether influenced or 
not by the Spirit of God, have, and with increas- 
ing emphasis, rejected the New Version. Thus, 



while the report of the British Bible Society 
for the year 1911 showed that about four per- 
cent (one out of 25) of the Bibles and Testa- 
ments issued by that Society in that year were 
of the R. v., the full report issued in 1920, shows 
that less thorn two percent (one out of 50) were 
of the R. V. The number of users of the B. V. 
therefore is not only small proportionately, but 
is dwindling. And of the few that are now 
called for a considerable proportion would be 
for reference and study only, and not for use. 


As an appropriate conclusion to this volume 
we quote an editorial that appeared recently in 
a daily newspaper {The Boston Herald, Aug. 1, 
1923), in which some striking facts concerning 
"the Bible" are put together (and let it be re- 
membered that it is the A. V. which is here re- 
garded as "the Bible") : — 

"The Real Best Sellek 
(Boston Hei'aJd, Aug. 1, 1923) 

"Every day 80,000 copies. Every year 30,000,000 
copies. And the presses day and night straining their 
bolts to supply the demand. 

"A new book? No, a very old one. Indeed, the 
first book ever put on the press. It never has been 
off since. An oriental book with a vast occidental cir- 
culation. An ancient book, but fitting modern needs, 
if the demand for it is any criterion. A book so 
cheap that a copy may be had for a few cents, yet for 



a single copy $50,000 was paid a few years ago, and 
many other copies have sold for large sums. 

*'A book of universal circulation. Translated into 
700 languages and dialects. Put into raised type for 
the blind. Placed in all the guest rooms of the hotels, 
aboard all the ships of the navy, in all the barracks 
of the army. A newspaper recently stated that the 
captain of one of the vessels of the shipping board 
having died that it was found when his funeral service 
was held that no copy of the book was on board. Next 
day a hundred copies were on the way to the port 
where the ship would dock. 

''The world's best seller. Outstripping all the 
novels with their occasional records of 100,000, even 
200,000, occasionally more, in a single year. Every- 
body knows what the book is — 












author of the " narrative op the british mission to theodore, king of 
Abyssinia;" "Biblical Nationalities, Past and Present;" 

"The Gauden or ^den and EiDLicAiy 

Sages," Etc. 


ROBERT W. ROGERS, PH. D. (Leipzig), D. D., 

Professor in Drew Theological Sbminary 












"And I f<77t', and tehotd, ihe LamO standing on The mount 
Z'on, and witk him a hundred and forty and fotir thou- 
sand, having his name, and ihe name of his Father, written 
on their foreheadi^'' — Rev. xiv, /. (^Reviied version.) 


















5 7 WASHINGTON 8 T F. E F, T .